In fact, assuming that Sen. Dan Foster<P>, D-Kanawha, does not (as he has indicated) run for re-election; Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, D-Logan, wins the Oct. 4 special election for governor; and longtime Sen. John Pat Fanning, D-McDowell, retires at the end of this term, the plan would avoid pitting any incumbents in the region against one another.
Of course, the question becomes, what do people in South Hills have in common with people in Boone County -- other than possibly the shopping centers on Corridor G ...
Cullen's presentation to House Redistricting noted that in 17 states, independent, nonpartisan commissions -- not legislators -- are responsible for legislative redistricting.
Some of those states also prohibit undue favoritism toward incumbents -- in fact, in some states, the commissions are prohibited from knowing where the incumbents' residences are located.
Given that it appears the top priority for West Virginia legislators this time around is to protect their own hides, an independent commission might not be a bad idea come 2021.
While noted here that the past two redistricting special sessions lasted 10 and 25 days, there could be incentive this time to wrap things up in one week: The NCSL's 2011 Legislative Summit starts Aug. 8 in San Antonio, Texas -- with evening events including a downtown fiesta, a Texas Dancehall Revue, and a private after-hours tour of the Alamo.
Legislators who've been approved to attend the Summit are Delegates Brent Boggs, John Doyle, Barbara Fleischauer, Bobbie Hatfield, Charlene Marshall, Ricky Moye, Don Perdue, Meshea Poore, Ralph Rodighiero, Dale Stephens, Wells (Gotta hand it to Danny -- there's rarely a reception or an out-of-town conference that he passes up ...), Harry Keith White, and Sens. Doug Facemire and Larry Edgell.
Finally, Delegate Doyle offered this startling factoid: Assuming national population growth figures hold steady, West Virginia's population will need to grow by at least 150,000 by 2020 -- or the state will lose a Congressional seat in 2022.
Keep in mind over the past decade, the state population grew by an anemic 2.5 percent -- or about 45,000.
Short of landing one or more of those billion-dollar ethane cracker plants, along with the ancillary chemical processing plants, chances for the state's population to grow 8 percent this decade look slim to none...
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.