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  • Mitchell Skelton

The "new" 71st - Redistricting made easy (except for the spelling...that's still difficult!)


The "new" 71st Legislative District

Redistricting is difficult. Despite being difficult to spell, the whole process can make even the simple task of voting confusing. Redistricting affects every aspect of our electoral process from county commission districts to our state and federal representatives. Fortunately, we are only forced to go through this process once every ten years following the census. Don't worry, you're not alone in this, in fact this year's decennial redistricting process as it's called has impacted over 2.5 million Tennesseans. For example, based on where I live in Waynesboro, I will have a new polling location, a new state Senator, and while my house legislative district remains the same number (District 71), it is an entirely new district geographically for the most part. So, since I'm running to be your representative in this "new" District 71 let me see if I can explain just how all this came to be and I'll even link to a couple of maps that will enable you to see what district you are in.

 

The reason for all of this upheaval is actually simple, Californians...and New Yorkers...and even fellow Tennesseans that relocated to Middle Tennessee over the past few years. The population of Middle Tennessee has exploded and since we have this thing in our constitution about equal representation that means more seats in the state legislature had to be moved into the area while East and West Tennessee lost some seats. (Hey, we fought an entire war with England over equal representation so we can't get too mad about redistricting every ten years!)


Each legislative district in Tennessee now represents an average of 69,806 people, up from 64,102 in 2010. In fact, the 71st District is a little above average coming in at 71,660 people. Encompassing portions of Maury, Lawrence, and Hardin Counties as well as all of Wayne County our new district is arguably one of the more diverse in the state. If I am fortunate enough to win this election, I will find myself concerned with the urban planning and infrastructure issues facing Maury and Lawrence Counties as well as dealing with the struggles of the districts dozens of small towns and unincorporated communities.


We face increasing expansion and choking congestion in the 71st District at the same time others struggle with a dwindling population base that is placing an ever-increasing tax burden on family farms and small businesses.
 

Stretching from the Williamson County line, District 71 takes western Maury County including GM's Spring Hill Manufacturing Facility, a small portion of Spring Hill, Santa Fe, Williamsport, Hampshire, and Mount Pleasant. The district continues south into Lawrence County and for some residents here nothing has changed, however a much larger portion of the county including the city of Lawrenceburg is now included. Lawrence County communities that are part of the 71st are Summertown, Ethridge, Center, and Henryville. Moving west, the district takes in all of Wayne County which is the only part of the district to remain unchanged. If you live in Wayne County, you are still in the 71st District. Finally, we reach into Hardin County where the districts main border lines are Highway 64 and State Route 203, basically everything between these two roads remain part of the district as well as the portion of the city of Savannah that lies south of Highway 64 and east of Route 128 (Pickwick Road) as far south as Walkertown. Other communities from Hardin County included in the 71st are Burnt Church, Center Star, Gillises Mills, and Olive Hill.


My experience in business and my track record of loyalty makes me uniquely qualified among the candidates to help us navigate through the vastly different issues facing our district. I have shown the ability to plot a steady course in the face of chaos and uncertainty and most importantly I have a track record of seeing a project through to completion. I won't leave when things get tough. You can depend on me to complete the task. - Mitchell

 

If you have questions about redistricting or need help determining what district you live in, contact me.


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