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Ky. redistricting plan shuffles area districts

Aug. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

ASHLAND -- A redistricting plan under review this week by the Kentucky House and Senate would change who Ashland residents would vote on for state senator and could lead Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, a Democrat, to move away from his Boyd County home.

The bill in the Kentucky House would place Adkins in the 100th district, currently represented by Kevin Sinnette, a fellow Democrat. Adkins represents the 99th district.

"I'm giving serious consideration to moving back to Elliott County or possibly to Morehead," said Adkins, who played basketball for Morehead State University.

The change would put the 99th district in Elliott, Rowan and Lewis counties. Most of Boyd County would stay in Sinnette's 100th district. However, several precincts along Ky. 5 would be moved to the 98th district currently served by State Rep. Tanya Pullin.

The state House is expected to vote on the redistricting plan Wednesday, said Adkins, an Elliott County native. "I think there is strong support for it," he said. "The goal is to pass a fair and balanced map. It should avoid a court challenge."

"No one walks away happy from this," Sinnette said. "I would lose precincts in the Summit area where I grew up. I wanted to keep the 100th in Boyd County. It will pass legal challenges in my opinion."

The House bill puts two Democrats running against each other and two Republicans running against each other. The bill was voted out of the House State Government Committee 25-4 Tuesday. It is scheduled for a vote Wednesday, Aug. 21. The Senate bill has no incumbents running against each other.

An earlier state redistricting plan passed by the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate couldn't pass a court challenge, forcing Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session to deal with redistricting. The session started Monday and could be finished by Friday.

"It needed to be done before 2014," Sinnette said. "It's our job. We don't want the courts to do it."

The state Senate bill would put Boyd, Greenup and Carter counties in the 18th district, currently held by State Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson. Boyd County currently is in the 27th district held by State Sen. Walter "Doc" Blevins.

"It has a good chance of passing," Webb said Tuesday. "No incumbents are pitted against each other."

She currently represents Carter, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Robertson and Bracken counties. "I was born in Ashland," she said. "I worked in Ashland. It's the regional hub. I feel very comfortable there."

She is up for re-election next year. Blevins was re-elected last year and isn't set to run again until 2016.

The change would mean he would lose Boyd, Lawrence and Elliott counties and pick up Rowan, Fleming, Lewis, Mason, Robertson, Nicholas, Bourbon and Harrison counties. His current district is about 60 percent Democratic, but the new one would be about two-to-one Democratic, said Blevins, who has been in the state legislature for 32 years.

"I think the redistricting plan will pass," he said. "It's bipartisan. I have time to learn the new district. I can't be disappointed."

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