On July 27, the Putnam County courthouse in Winfield was the site the first public hearing of West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Committee on Redistricting. The Joint Committee will conduct a total of 12 public hearings before taking on the task of redrawing legislative boundary lines.
The West Virginia Constitution requires the Legislature to redraw these lines every 10 years utilizing U.S. Census data to reflect any population changes. Due to the delay in the federal government releasing Census data, specific population numbers are not available and the Committee cannot present any proposed maps.
Putnam residents let their thoughts known about legislative boundary lines that currently exist. Speakers made it known that they are unhappy and want the opportunity to vote for people who live in Putnam County and share Putnam County interests.
Currently, the county is represented by seven delegates elected from four delegate districts which cross county lines and one district which is totally within the county. Only three of the seven delegates reside in Putnam County.
The one district within Putnam is the 15th where Geoff Foster represents 13,624 registered voters. The 13th and 22nd Districts are two-delegate districts, representing 20,214 and 20,202 registered voters. Putnam is outnumbered by Mason and Jackson in the 13th by 12,589 to 7,625 and by Lincoln, Logan and Boone in the 22nd by 13,452 to 6,750. In the 14th and 38th (single-delegate districts) Putnam is outnumbered by Mason County 7,699 to 2,464 in the 14th District and by Kanawha County 5,825 to 5,425 in the 22nd District.
Members of the Joint Committee are Senators Charles Trump (chairman), Mike Caputo, Glenn Jeffries, Rupie Phillips, Chandler Swope, Dave Sypolt, Eric Tarr, Ryan Weld, and Mike Woefel; and Delegates Gary Howell (chairman), Bill Anderson, Brent Boggs, Nathan Brown, Moore Capito, Paul Espinosa, Shawn Fluharty, Geoff Foster, Marty Gearheart, Sean Hornbuckle, Eric Householder, David Kelly, Kayla Kessinger, Daniel Linville, Zack Maynard, Jeff Pack, Matthew Rohrbach, Ruth Rowan, Doug Skaff, Joe Statler, Erikka Storch,Amy Summers, Steve Westfall, and John Williams.
The last public hearing for the Committee is scheduled for September 16 in Parkersburg. The Committee must complete its work before new districts can be drawn for the 2022-2030 election cycle.
The Committee’s progress will be reported on the web at www.wvlegislature.gov/redistricting.cfm.