"As a resident of South Hills, I am more than happy for somebody from East Bank or Montgomery to have a delegate back," he said, referring to the Charleston residences of many members of the 30th Delegate District.
Former South Charleston Mayor Richie Robb said single-member districts promote accountability, and suggested the issue should be put on the Oct. 4 special election ballot.
"Let us vote on whether we want single-member districts or multiple districts," he said.
Unger has scheduled 12 public hearings around the state, with the meeting in Charleston Wednesday being the third stop on the tour.
As a freshman senator in 2001, Unger was so unhappy with what he considered backroom deals designed to protect incumbents from southern counties that he filed suit in federal court to have that redistricting plan declared unconstitutional. A three-judge panel ultimately dismissed the case.
After being named chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting in April, Unger vowed that the 2011 redistricting process would be much more open, with more input from the public.
"Our first act wasn't for us to sit down and ask, what do we want?" Unger said Wednesday. "Our first act as a task force is to go out to these meetings, and ask what the people want."
He said of the town hall meetings, "It's an ongoing, constant process of talking, thinking, discussing, so that it's all transparent, unlike in the past. I'm trying to minimize the incumbency protection idea."
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.