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Former political leaders call for new redistricting method

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's political old guard says current politicians should not draw new legislative and congressional districts.

Those in politics have so much self-interest that they should not do the basic redistricting work required once a decade, five long-time Minnesota political leaders said on Tuesday.

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This year, with a big divide between Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature, is a prime example of problems with politicians doing the work, long-time Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe said.

"All the signs are that the Legislature and governor will not agree on a plan," Moe said.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1960s that districts must contain the same number of people, Minnesota's policymakers usually have failed to agree and sent the redistricting plan to the courts.

The plan offered Tuesday by Moe, former Vice President Walter Mondale, former House Speaker Steve Sviggum, long-time U.S. Rep. Tim Penny and former Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz (who also was a legislator) would establish a panel of five retired judges to draw up the maps.

Still, the Legislature would need to approve the plan and the governor would sign it.

Senate Republican spokesman Michael B. Brodkorb, who is the party's chief redistricting official, immediately shot down the plan in a Tweet: "Elected representatives should be involved in the redistricting process, not an unelected panel of retired political appointees."

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

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Pioneer staff reports
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