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Posted Monday, February 6, 2012, at 11:31 AM

New Tennessee State House Districts
By Rep. Craig Fitzhugh

This week, the Tennessee General Assembly reconvened for the second session of the 107th General Assembly. I have high expectations for the upcoming legislative session and look forward to making government work for the people over the coming months.

The first item on our agenda this year was redistricting. Every ten years, following the decennial census, the Tennessee General Assembly is constitutionally mandated to redraw the district lines for State House, State Senate and U.S. House. This process takes into account population shifts and makes sure each district is proportionally represented. New census numbers were not particularly good for our West Tennessee area. With declining rural populations here and growing suburbs in Nashville, we lost a number of State House and State Senate seats to Middle Tennessee.

For the last ten years, I've had the privilege of representing the people of House District 82--Lauderdale, Crockett and a portion of Dyer counties. Under new district lines passed this week, Dyer County will now be made whole and move completely into House District 81. The new House District 82 will then be all of Crockett, Lauderdale and Haywood Counties. While I'm disappointed that the majority party conducted this process behind closed doors, I'm pleased with the new district. It's compact, rural and doesn't unnecessarily split counties.

There have also been changes to our state senate districts. Crockett County, which was previously represented by 26th district Senator Delores Gresham (R-Somerville), will now be represented by 27th district Senator Lowe Finney (D-Jackson). Lauderdale & Dyer Counties--previously represented by Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville)--will be represented by Senator Finney, while Haywood will stay with Senator Gresham.

Our US House district, currently represented by Congressman Stephen Fincher, will have some substantial changes. The new 8th Congressional district takes in Germantown, Collierville and other Memphis suburbs, while giving many rural areas to 7th district Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. This will make our congressional district substantially less rural and considerably more suburban.

I understand that this process can be confusing and probably really boring, but I thought it was important to share with you this week. You need to know who your representatives are at every level. When that changes substantially, as it does every ten years, I feel like it's my responsibility to help you stay informed. The state website, http://www.capitol.tn.gov/districtmaps/r..., is a great resource to familiarize you with the new district and our representatives.

As always, if you have any questions about the new districts or would like to hear more about another issue, please contact my legislative office and we'll get your questions answered as soon as possible. Have a great week

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