Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said Tuesday that the newly-passed redistricting plan for the state of Alabama — which passed both houses of the state legislature and received the signature of Gov. Robert Bentley — will alter the districts in St. Clair County, and change the county’s representation in Montgomery.
Specifically, the new plan divides the county into three House districts and three Senate districts. One of those — Senate district 11 — would have the majority of its citizens living inside St. Clair County.
“It’s possible that district could elect a Senator from St. Clair County,” McClendon said. “St. Clair County has a slight majority in that district.”
The current senator for District 11 is Jerry Fielding, D-Sylacauga.
“That district will be much more likely to elect a Republican Senator in the future,” McClendon said.
Other representatives for the county would stay largely the same: McClendon’s district would shift to be entirely inside St. Clair County; Blaine Galliher and Randy Wood would remain representatives of portions of the county; and Sen. Scott Beason’s district would also still represent part of western St. Clair. Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, would represent Ashville and Steele.
County Commission chairman Stan Batemon said the county has always worked well with its representatives in Montgomery.
“Over the years, we’ve worked with different representatives and different senators and different congressmen,” Batemon said. “Whoever has represented us in the past has already been attentive to the needs of St. Clair County. I feel positive about this move; I always try to embrace change.
“I think, from the looks of things, there will be more of the county represented by one or two senators and state representatives. I think that’s a good thing. The main thing is that we elect good ones that represent our area that are willing to work with people from other areas. We’ve always had that.”
The new districts will receive scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice, but McClendon said he was unsure of any challenges that might arise.
“How the Justice Department will treat this case is anybody’s guess,” McClendon said. “We tried very hard to follow the same format that we did with the state BOE and U.S. House districts, which was not challenged. It’s a very complicated process.”
Contact Will Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.