Town hall meet on district lines set for June 14

Photo by Jason Braverman

Photo by Jason Braverman

CONYERS -- Newton County residents will have a chance to have their say on Georgia's upcoming reapportionment of state legislative and congressional districts with a town hall meeting to be held in Stockbridge.

The first of the 12 hearings by the State House and Senate Joint Redistricting Committee got under way two weeks ago in Athens, Augusta, Albany, Savannah and Valdosta.

Seven town hall meetings remain scheduled for June before the Georgia General Assembly calls a special session on reapportionment some time in August.

The town hall meeting nearest to Newton County is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at the Merle Manders Conference Center in Stockbridge.

State legislators are holding the town hall meetings to give residents an opportunity to have their voices heard before lawmakers take up reapportionment, in which they will redraw congressional and legislative district lines to conform to new U.S. Census data.

Portions of Newton County are currently included in two congressional districts -- District 7, represented by Robert Woodall; and District 8, represented by Austin Scott.

The county is wholly contained in state Senate District 17, represented by Rick Jeffares of Henry County. Three state House districts contain portions of Newton County: District 110, represented by Andy Welch of Gwinnett County; District 95, represented by Pam Dickerson of Rockdale County; and District 112, represented by Doug Holt of Newton County.

Redrawing district lines has become a hot topic among Rockdale County residents. The current district lines have Rockdale County -- the second smallest county, land-wise, in the state -- represented by four state House representatives and two state senators. Of the state delegation, only Pam Dickerson lives in Rockdale, though her district also includes portions of Gwinnett and Newton counties.

The Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce and several Conyers city officials have stated that the current make up of state representatives dilutes the county's voice in the state Legislature since the majority of those districts are in DeKalb and Newton counties.

The chamber has made it a goal to redraw Rockdale County completely into a single House district as has the Republican Party of Rockdale County.

The Merle Manders Conference Center is located at 111 Davis Road in Stockbridge. From Conyers, take Ga. Highway 138 S. and after crossing over the Gen. Ray Davis Bridge in downtown Stockbridge, turn right onto Burke Street. The conference center is located at the corner of Burke Street and Davis Road.

For more information, go to www.mmccevents.com or call 770-389-5982.

Also, the State House and Senate Joint Redistricting Committee provides calendar listings, video of previous town hall meetings and general information on reapportionment at its

website, http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/house/Committees/reapportionment/gahlcr.htm.