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Newton delegation details new district maps

Members of the Newton legislative delegation spoke to the Rotary Club of Covington about new district lines and changes in representation. Shown left to right, are Sen. Ron Ramsey, Rep. Steve Davis, Rep. Pam Dickerson, Rep. Doug Holt and Sen. Rick Jeffares.

Members of the Newton legislative delegation spoke to the Rotary Club of Covington about new district lines and changes in representation. Shown left to right, are Sen. Ron Ramsey, Rep. Steve Davis, Rep. Pam Dickerson, Rep. Doug Holt and Sen. Rick Jeffares.

COVINGTON -- Five members of Newton County's legislative delegation met with members of the Rotary Club of Covington Tuesday to outline changes to the proposed state House and Senate district maps.

State Sens. Ronald Ramsey and Rick Jeffares and state Reps. Doug Holt, Pam Dickerson and Steven Davis attended the meeting. State Rep. Andy Welch, R-Locust Grove, was unable to attend.

Though the new districts have not yet been approved by the Justice Department, both Sens. Ramsey and Jeffares said they are comfortable with the way Senate district lines were drawn and do not anticipate any significant changes.

Under the new maps, Jeffares, R-Locust Grove, represents portions of three counties and nine cities, whereas before he represented five counties and 15 cities. Jeffares lost a portion of Newton County in the redistricting. Previously he represented the entire county. He also lost Walton County in the redistricting but gained a portion of Rockdale and Henry counties.

Jeffares was first elected in 2010.

Ramsey, D-Decatur, saw his 43rd District shift dramatically under the new maps, picking up a large part of western Newton County. Previously he represented part of eastern DeKalb County and most of Rockdale County but none of Newton.

Ramsey chose the occasion Tuesday to state that he is working to pay any back taxes owed by a Decatur child care business that he and his wife own.

"All my state taxes are paid," Ramsey said. "There is an arrangement with the federal government for some payroll taxes."

A Sept. 18 article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution listed Ramsey among state lawmakers who owe back taxes. According to the article, the Kingdom Group, for which Ramsey is listed as vice president and general counsel and which is run by his wife, owed $173,000 for unpaid taxes from 2007-2010.

Ramsey was first elected in 2006.

Rep. Doug Holt, the senior member of the Newton delegation, saw minor changes to his representation of Newton County. Holt, who lives on the eastern side of the county and was first elected in 2004, said the 112th District now includes only part of the Brewers precinct, whereas it included the entire precinct under the old map. In addition, the Towns and Cedar Shoals precincts shifted to Rep. Pam Dickerson, while he picked up Gum Creek from her district. Holt also picked up the remainder of Morgan County in the redrawing of district lines.

Rep. Steve Davis, R-McDonough, saw his District 109 shift into Newton County where he will represent the Downs precinct and half of the Livingston precinct. He will also represent the Barksdale precinct and the southern half of the Magnet precinct in Rockdale County. Davis, a real estate broker in McDonough, is in his fourth term in the House.

Rep. Pam Dickerson, D-Conyers, will have a new district number if the new maps are approved, moving from District 95 to District 113. Her new district includes a small part of eastern Rockdale County, a larger portion of western Newton, and part of Gwinnett.

Dickerson was first elected in 2010.

Rep. Welch lost much of Newton County in the 110th under the new proposed House map.