Redistricting Could Impact Moore County
Redistricting will change Moore County's legislative boundaries, but voters can expect to retain a House member and probably a senator as well.
The county's senatorial district may be restructured to team up with Randolph County, rather than Harnett County. District 22, now served by Sen. Harris Blake, of Pinehurst, has consisted of Moore and Harnett counties since the last redistricting.
"We'll probably be shifted out of Harnett and into Randolph because of our size," Blake said Tuesday "We've outgrown ourselves."
Not only has Moore County grown to a population of 88,000, but Harnett has also grown so much that Moore needs to link up with a smaller county so the district does not exceed the ideal district size.
State Rep. Jamie Boles, the other legislator from Moore County, does not expect the size of his district to change very much and thinks it's possible that a neighboring district may still take a small bite from Moore County. However, it may not be Chatham County.
"As a whole, Moore County will stay more or less the same," Boles said of his district.
District 52 is currently made up of Moore County, except for one and a half precincts, which are in District 54, represented by former House Speaker Joe Hackney, an Orange County Democrat. Both Boles and Blake are Republicans from a county heavily dominated by GOP registrants.
Boles said Tuesday that he has not seen the proposed district maps, but he does plan to attend a public hearing on redistricting from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh.
Under consideration are those districts affected by the federal Voter Rights Act (VRA) and four other districts of special interest.
Moore County is not affected by the VRA because its population makeup does not include a large enough number of minority voters to constitute an inequality problem.
A complicating factor this year is the fact that many of these high-minority counties have either lost population or are unchanged since the 2000 population census.
"There are a lot of rumors around," Boles said of the redistricting.
The U.S. Constitution requires congressional and legislative redistricting every 10 years after the population census is conducted. The size of districts must conform to certain population averages.
In addition to meeting VRA requirements, redistricting is further complicated this year by a migration of population from rural areas to heavily populated areas.
"It ain't easy," quipped Blake.
The General Assembly, which adjourned last week, will reconvene in mid-July to adopt new districts.
The Republican majorities in both chambers may also use that session for override votes on several vetoes by Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue.
Perdue is considering vetoes for several bills opposed by Democrats, including one requiring photo identification to vote.
The legislature was successful last week in overriding her veto of the budget bill.
Boles said he was disappointed that Samarkand Youth Development Center did not survive in the new budget and did not make it into the technical correction bill later adopted.
Two years ago, he was successful in rescuing the historic facility at Eagle Springs from the budget ax, but the state's financial condition is far too fragile this year.
"I'm still working on it," Boles said Tuesday, adding that he is working on a possible alternative use of the state-owned property.
Blake does not think Perdue will veto bills on energy and jobs that provide for consideration of the controversial "fracking" method of mining natural gas underneath portions of Moore, Lee and Chatham counties.
He was co-sponsor of one bill calling for a study of horizontal drilling as a possible means of extracting natural gas. His bill was a bipartisan measure that was later superseded by other bills, one generated in the House, the other in the Senate.
Blake supports both bills, which he says provide for "proper oversight" and a study of mining methods before any company may extract natural gas in North Carolina. The bills also include protection for property owners who may contract with companies for mining rights.
Another part of one bill that has received less attention provides guidelines for mining gas offshore from North Carolina.
Hydraulic fracturing, from which the term "fracking" is taken, is a method to drill vertically, then horizontally to extract natural gas from underground sources. It is opposed by environmentalists, whose predominant concern is water contamination.
In spite of divisions on the budget and other bills introduced by the Republican majority, Boles points out that there was bipartisan support for a number of bills that the governor has signed. Among them are laws removing the cap on the number of charter schools, changing the municipal annexation law, and restricting government use of eminent domain from benefiting nonpublic entities.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at email@example.com.
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