New maps show Coast won’t lose representation

Overall, Coast legislative districts shifted a little northward, a result of population shifts inland after Hurricane Katrina, and several of South Mississippi’s 19 House districts had to shift hither and yon. But the area was spared any of the pairings of incumbents that had lawmakers in some other regions angry on Wednesday and the plan appears to lack some of the gerrymandered South Mississippi districts of past maps.

Rep. Randall Patterson, D-Biloxi, had faced the potential collapse of District 115 from a huge loss in population — more than 10,000 people — from East Biloxi. But his district was shifted in the House plan to encompass much of D’Iberville.

“It beats the alternative,” Patterson said. “I knew it had to go somewhere, and couldn’t go south into the water. I think it’s a victory for South Mississippi just to keep the district there, and I know other members of the delegation helped lobby to keep it.”

Rep. Hank Zuber, R-Ocean Springs, a member of the House redistricting committee, said he believes the plan is fair.

“It has less split precincts compared to the last plan, keeps more communities and counties whole and makes use of natural borders,” Zuber said.

Sun Herald