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Rock Island Co. redistricting plan one step closer to approval

Equal representation and diverse voices on the board are among issues raised by members.

ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill. — A move to redraw Rock Island County's political lines and reduce board positions was one step closer to being approved Wednesday night.

On Wednesday, Nov. 10, the full Rock Island County Board met for the first time since the release of a new redistricting map.

The reapportionment plan would reduce the number of board members by six, from 25 to 19.

"(I'm) pretty pleased with the results," board member Angie Normoyle said.

Over the last decade, Rock Island County residents have called for a smaller board.

While some board members feel the new map is fair, others feel the board needs to keep the same number of members.

"Leave it like it is," board member Robert Westpfahl, who was against the redistricting, said. "I didn't see anything wrong with the 25 districts we had before."

Equal representation and diverse voices on the board are among issues raised by members.

"(Board members) worked hard to know their districts, learn their districts, learn their people, know their people, they knew who they could talk to … But now, it's all whopper-jawed around," Westpfahl said.

Board chairman Richard Brunk said the proposal focused on drawing each district fairly and left minority voices intact.

Westpfahl, on the other hand, said he feels the proposed map was gerrymandered and would take away from rural voices. He also said the vote years back to reduce the board did not include most residents.

"It wasn't 72% of the people in the county, it was 72% of the people that voted. It's a big difference," Westpfahl said.

Brunk said rural leaders and the minority community weighed in on the proposal. He said those leaders felt the new map is better than the old one.

Brunk said the new map included minor changes to consolidate Coal Valley into one district as well as the Village of Reynolds.

The full county board is expected to vote on the measure Tuesday, Nov. 16.

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