By Owasso Reporter Editor Art Haddaway
A town hall meeting on redistricting was held at Tulsa Tech’s Owasso campus on Thursday.
Every 10 years, following completion of the U.S. Census, the constitution requires lawmakers to redraw boundary lines for legislative and congressional districts using data from the 2020 U.S. Census.
Several area citizens attended the session, both in-person and online, to hear the proposed changes. Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, and Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso, were both on hand as well.
“Our goal is to make this process open and transparent,” Dossett said in a news release, “so the Senate and House have been hosting a series of town hall meetings throughout the state to inform citizens about redistricting, answer questions and even receive input from citizens.”
Vancuren added, “Having a say in who represents you in government is one of the fundamental freedoms of our great nation. As the redistricting process directly affects such representation, it is imperative that we hear the concerns and ideas of the people we represent in each sector of the state.”
Residential population changes for each of Oklahoma’s 101 House districts are estimated to grow by a little over 2,000 people, totaling more than 39,000, according to figures presented at the meeting. Likewise, the numbers for each of the 48 Senate districts are estimated to increase by nearly 4,300, totaling close to 82,500.
Oklahoma’s total population has grown about 5.5% since 2010, according to the statistics, with high-growth districts being 68, 69, 74 and 75, all of which are held by Republicans, a Tulsa World story cites. It further states that House Districts 71, 72 and 73 in the Tulsa area, all Democrat-led, have each lost population since 2010.
Owasson David Nowland and his wife, Terrie, who both work out of their home near the Stone Canyon development east of Owasso, attended Thursday’s session and took a lot away from the forum.
“Kind of interesting to see how the populations in our zone moved over time in comparing the maps,” David said, “so thinking about how districts affect our businesses is a thing that we wanted to come out and learn about.”
Another attendee, Terry Flattem, a computer software consultant and GOP volunteer, added, “We need a number cruncher to understand how the census ties together with the precincts. I thought it was real good … giving us the numbers and what their goals are.”
The Legislature plans to approve new district boundaries for the state House and Senate and for congressional districts during the session that begins on Feb. 1.