JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – While lawmakers in Montgomery hold a special session over district maps throughout the state, Jefferson County commissioners share their thoughts on the process.
“For years, it has shown that it does not work,” District 2 Commissioner Shelia Tyson said.
“And one thing that you learn is that every ten years, change will occur,” District 3 Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said.
Commissioner Stephens said this will be the second time during his tenure as commissioner he has gone through redistricting. He said as of Thursday, he has around 136,000 people in District 3. He said based on the new map, he would lose close to 8,000 people. The areas switching districts would be parts of Bessemer and some western parts of the county.
“But now, through the redistricting process, we are all equal again. And we represent the same amount of people,” Stephens said.
District 2 Commissioner Shelia Tyson said redistricting can impact an area’s resources and how much funding they can potentially receive from the state.
“I’m going to say 75% of my district is below the poverty level,” Tyson said.
She said the way the process of district drawing works doesn’t properly represent who lives in the district. She feels the process needs to change.
“I think that every representative should draw their own line,” Tyson said.
While both sides may disagree on redistricting, they want to make sure everyone in the county is properly represented.
“All they can do is follow the federal guidelines and make sure that everyone is represented equally,” Stephens said.