At the beginning of the special session that began last Wednesday, November 3, I would like to express what an honor and privilege it is to serve the citizens of District 156 in the Georgia House of Representatives.
The Georgia General Assembly has convened for a special session to adopt legislation that would redraw and update our state’s legislative and congressional maps based on the new census data. Since the U.S. Census occurred during 2020, all 50 states must go through the process of changing their district boundary lines ahead of the 2022 election cycle. As Georgia’s population changes, the number of people in each legislative and congressional district must be adjusted so that the population in each district is as close to equal as possible.
Our state grew by approximately one million new residents over the last 10 years, which is an increase of more than 10 percent since the last census. As a result of this population growth, all 180 state House districts will increase to approximately 59,511 people. In addition to population requirements, district maps must also comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and consider traditional principles of redistricting, such as ensuring that communities of interest are represented, avoiding major changes to the existing representation in the Legislature, and keeping local government jurisdictions whole.
Each state has its own way of redrawing its legislative and congressional maps. In Georgia, the State Legislature creates new district maps through the legislative process. The House and Senate each have a standing committee that works with the nonpartisan Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office to update these maps. This summer, the House and Senate reapportionment committees began preparing for the special session by holding several town hall hearings across the state, as well as virtually, to gather testimony directly from Georgians about how the redistricting process and their current district lines impact their communities. Thank you to the many citizens of the 156th District that attended one of these meetings to share your thoughts and concerns with the committees.
As we move through the redistricting process over the coming weeks, I will continue to provide updates on how the proposed maps may affect our local communities. While I’ll be spending most of my time away from the district until the special session adjourns, I hope to hear from you while I am at the State Capitol. If you’d like to share your thoughts and opinions on the redistricting process or any other topics that may come before the Legislature next session, I can be reached via email at [email protected]
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
By Leesa Hagan R-Vidalia (District 156, Georgia House of Representatives)