Ellington: Change won’t hurt

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Sen. Noble Ellington said Friday he expects redistricting’s effects on the district he represents to be minimal.

On Oct. 8, the Legislature will convene to approve newly drawn legislative districts based on new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. New districts will also be drawn for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Public Service Commission.

Ellington, D-Winnsboro, represents District 32, which includes part of Concordia Parish. Ellington acknowledged that Sen. Charles Jones, D-Monroe, may have to take some of Concordia Parish into his district to make up for residents lost from that district since the 1990 Census.

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But despite recent news reports to the contrary, Ellington said there is no &uot;political fight&uot;&160;between him and Jones on the issue.

&uot;I’m not certain (Jones) will have to do that. We’ll try to keep Concordia Parish like it is,&uot; Ellington said. &uot;But if he does, we’re not going to argue, fuss or fight over this. Besides, if he needs to take in more (population), we don’t have a lot of choice.&uot;

If extra people are needed in Jones’ District 34, which is expected to lose about 9,000 residents, he could possibly take in the Clayton area of Concordia Parish, Ellington said. Jones could not be reached for comment Friday.

Otherwise Ellington’s district, with about 113,500 people, is close enough to the ideal size – which is just over 114,500, according to legislative figures – for any redistricting effects to be negligible, Ellington said.

Public hearings are now being held throughout the state to get public opinion on how those districts should be redrawn based on new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That input will be taken into account when legislative committees meet in September to draw preliminary redistricting plans.