Regional split rises in Missouri redistricting debate

Thursday, March 31, 2011 | 5:09 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Regional divisions are surfacing in reactions to proposed new congressional districts in Missouri.

The state is losing one of its nine seats in the U.S. House, and state lawmakers are drawing the new eight-district map. A House committee heard testimony Thursday about one proposed map.

An official from central Missouri objected to moving Cole County into a district that reaches into the St. Louis area. A lawmaker from rural western Missouri was unhappy about three rural counties being added to the Kansas City-centered 5th Congressional District.

And away from the hearing, two state senators from southeastern Missouri expressed concern about stretching their congressional district north to the St. Louis area.

State Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country, has defended his proposal, calling it the best he's seen so far.

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