County remains in 8th Congressional District; will vote to fill vacant senate seat
By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Morrison County will remain as a part of the 8th Congressional District. But, under the new district lines for the Senate and House released Tuesday, the county will find itself with new numbers, and in the fall, no incumbent senator.
In doing so, the new district lines for the 8th Congressional District, didn’t change anything for Morrison County residents. Each congressional district now has a population of 662,990 or 662,991.
The newly-drawn district lines for the Senate and House, depict Morrison County in Senate District 9 and House District 9B, except for a small section in the southeast, including Lakin and Morrill townships, which are in House District 15B.
Senate District 9, with a population of 79,044, includes Morrison County, Todd County and parts of Cass and Wadena counties.
Senator Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, who represented a large portion of Morrison County, will now be the incumbent for Senate District 10, which includes Crow Wing and Aitkin counties.
Gazelka said the news was a big surprise and a bit disappointing to him.
“I’ve developed some great working relationships and friendships with people across Morrison County,” he said
“All of Crow Wing County and all of Aitkin County is a fairly significant shift,” he said. “I don’t yet know a lot about Aitkin. We travel through there to visit relatives in Northeast Minnesota. It’s not as familiar to me as Morrison and Crow Wing counties,” he said.
Gazelka said he will continue to work with people on their concerns until there is a new senator. “I certainly want to reach out and continue to meet the needs of Morrison County.”
Voters will decide in November, who will represent the new Senate District 9.
The new state Senate District 9 includes the following cities and townships, grouped by legislative district and county:
Todd County: The cities of Bertha, Browerville, Clarissa, Eagle Bend, Hewitt, Osakis, Staples and West Union. The townships of Bartlett, Bertha, Birchdale, Burleene, Eagle Valley, Fawn Lake, Germania, Gordon, Hartford, Iona, Kandota, Leslie, Little Elk, Little Sauk, Moran, Reynolds, Staples, Stowe Prairie, Turtle Creek, Villard, Ward, West Union and Wykeham.
Cass County: The cities of East Gull Lake, Lake Shore, Motley and Pillager. The townships of Ansel, Becker, Bungo, Byron, Fairview, Home Brook, Loon Lake, Maple, May, Meadow Brook, Moose Lake, Poplar, Sylvan, Walden and Wilson.
Wadena County – The cities of Aldrich, Nimrod, Sebeka, Staples, Verndale and Wadena. The townships of Aldrich, Bullard, Leaf River, Lyons, Meadow, North Germany, Orton, Red Eye, Rockwood, Thomastown, Wadena and Wing River.
Todd County: The cities of Burtrum, Grey Eagle, Long Prairie and Swanville. The townships of Bruce, Burnhamville, Grey Eagle, Long Prairie and Round Prairie.
Morrison County: The entire county except for the townships of Lakin and Morrill in the southeast corner of the county, which are in District 15B.
Rep. Mike LeMieur, R-Little Falls, currently serving House District 12B, will be the incumbent for District 9B.
LeMieur said he understands this is the first time in more than 100 years that Crow Wing and Morrison counties were not in the same House district.
He said he’s been honored to serve Crow Wing County residents, but looks forward to working with residents in the portions of Todd County that are now in District 9B.
“They hold the same values as people in Morrison County,” he said. Hardworking people with a large agricultural base, he said.
The Todd County Commissioners visited with LeMieur Thursday, to share their concerns. “They’re a great group of guys,” he said.
These new district lines will take effect Aug. 14, in time for the state primary.
The Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel was ordered by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea June 1, 2011, when the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton did not offer redistricting plans that were found to satisfy constitutional and statutory requirements.
More information can be found online at: mncourts.gov/?page=4469