Why Having Two Montana Congressional Seats Again is Complicated
You and I probably don't view most issues that affect the state of Montana with the same amount of scrutiny as do politicians.
Of course, we're not out there trying to get what we think is best for our constituents, with undertones of political agendas. A great example of that would be the return to two representatives in the U.S. Congress. Hey, just split the state down the middle, right? Oh, we wish it were that simple.
As most Montanans know, growth has led to more representation. Starting in 2023, Montana will once again have two members in the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Census Bureau made that announcement earlier this year based on the results from last year’s census. The data show that Montana’s population grew from 989,415 people in 2010 to 1,085,407 people in 2020 – an increase of 95,992 over 2010, or nearly 10 percent.
The state of Montana has a redistricting commission whose task it is to divide the state in half. But since that commission is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, when it comes to proposing where the new Great Divide line will be drawn, taking into account population centers, lifestyles and political affiliations, well, need we say more?
Associated Press reports that the commission is set to select the district boundaries tomorrow (Thursday). With so much polarization and lack of common ground these days, the final decision may have to be made by the commission's "nonpartisan" chairperson. In good faith, I guess we have to believe that chairperson, Maylinn Smith, is indeed nonpartisan.
So, don't start assembling the masses in preparation to invade and conquer the other half of the state just yet. Let's wait for tomorrow's preliminary proposals and see what, if any, impact it will have on us "westerners."