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Friends Old and New

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Every 10 years, following the U.S. Census, legislative district maps are redrawn to reflect shifting populations. A lot of attention has been paid to new boundaries for Missouri’s eight congressional districts, but there’s been less discussion about state legislative districts. While the General Assembly is responsible for crafting maps for Congress, the task of dividing Missouri into 34 Senate and 163 House districts falls on bipartisan citizen commissions, one for each legislative chamber. The group responsible for House districts finished its work in January. The Senate Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission threw up its hands and turned the difficult task over to a second commission made up of judges.

The Judicial Redistricting Commission released a new map of Missouri’s senatorial districts this week. There were quite a few surprises for residents of the eight counties that I currently represent in the Missouri Senate. Since redistricting last occurred following the 2010 Census, Missouri’s 33rd Senatorial District has consisted of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties. Beginning with the 102nd General Assembly, which begins next January, residents of four counties I currently represent will be assigned to different senatorial districts, while three counties previously part of other districts will join the 33rd.

Under the new Senate map, folks in Oregon and Ripley counties will be moved to the 25th Senatorial District, which extends all the way to the Mississippi River and encompasses much of southeast Missouri, including the Bootheel. Wright County residents will be voting for a senator to represent the remapped 16th District, which is located primarily to the northeast of that county. Webster County will become the eastern border of the 20th, a four-county legislative district that surrounds (but does not include) the city of Springfield and stretches west to the Kansas line. Two counties previously included in the 29th District – Stone and Taney (home of Branson and Table Rock Lake) – will become part of the 33rd, as will Shannon County, which was previously included in the 25th District.

I’m disappointed to be losing Oregon, Ripley, Webster and Wright counties, as I’ve come to know so many good people in these parts of my district. I will continue to count all these folks as friends, just as I will continue to serve all the residents of these counties as their voice in the Missouri Senate throughout the remainder of 2022. Even after the 102nd General Assembly convenes in January, I will remain faithful to the values and interests of these four counties because I know Ozarks values are Missouri values. It’s been an honor to serve all of you in the Senate. I intend to finish strong, so if there’s anything I can do for you in the coming months, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office.

To all those Missourians joining the 33rd Senatorial District, I look forward to exploring your communities and getting to know many of you better. Shannon County, with its dense Ozark forests, shares many of the same issues as neighboring counties I’ve represented in the past, so the challenges residents face are not new to me, even if many of the faces are fresh. I previously represented parts of Taney County as a member of the House of Representatives, so much of this area is familiar to me. And, of course, I’ve visited Stone and Taney counties on many occasions throughout my life and know the area well. I welcome the chance to reconnect with old friends and to get to know all of you better in the years to come.

It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882, or my District Office at 417-596-9011.  You can also visit my webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.

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