(UPDATED: 5:12 p.m. Feb. 21) Hopkins voters will see the numbers change for their state legislative districts under a redistricting plan released Tuesday, but district boundaries will remain similar—especially in the southern portion of the senate district.
“For my own purposes, I’m optimistic I can win re-election in this district,” said Hopkins Sen. Ron Latz. “I will have to introduce myself to new residents in Plymouth.”
Hopkins Rep. Steve Simon said he, too, is happy his new district is nearly identical to the old one.
The plan places Hopkins in House District 46B and Senate District 46. It is currently in House District 44A and Senate District 44.
The new senate district sees the biggest change. It adds Medicine Lake and a portion of Plymouth—where the existing senate district stopped at Golden Valley. As with the previous Senate and House districts, parts of St. Louis Park continue to share legislators with Hopkins.
This is Latz’s first redistricting process, but he was a beneficiary of the 2002 redistricting—which created a new House district where he resides. Two-thirds of that House district was new for the incumbent state representative who came before him.
Latz, on the other hand, served on the St. Louis Park City Council, graduated from Hopkins High School and grew up in Golden Valley. The incumbent wound up retiring instead of running for re-election, and Latz won election to the House that same year—followed by election to the Senate in 2006.
While Latz may have benefitted from that redistricting, he noted that the process creates tough choices for other senators. With this redistricting, for example, fellow Minneapolis DFL senators Kenneth Kelash and Scott Dibble are now in the same district. The same is true for Sens. John Marty and Mary Jo McGuire—from Roseville and Falcon Heights, respectively.
Unlike a general election, a contest between such candidates is between people who are ideologically similar and often friends.
“I do know I’m saddened that some of my own colleagues are going to have to face off against one another or have to make some hard decisions about their political futures,” said Latz. “Political careers and passions are on the line now. … It’s a sad, but natural, part of the process.”
States must redraw district boundaries after every Census. When the Legislature couldn’t reach agreement on a map, the State Supreme Court was tasked with the job. It released its decision at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Patch will post more details about the redistricting, including comments from elected officials, as they become available.