State Plans Tear Districts Apart

Published 4:21 pm Thursday, March 31, 2011

FARMVILLE – 59th District House of Delegates member Watkins M. Abbitt, Jr., is poised to lose his share of Prince Edward County and all of Cumberland in a proposed redistricting plan.

And on the Senate side, Prince Edward would join a district that includes Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights.

Nothing has been decided, however, and, given the nature of politics in Richmond, alternative plans could emerge with different district lines. But these proposals from the House and Senate are expected to emerge from their respective chambers for deliberation and, perhaps, alteration. Or passage into law.

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Abbitt told The Herald on Wednesday that he expects the House plan to receive approval during deliberations next week.

The legislature convenes on Monday.

60th District House of Delegates member, James Edmunds, agrees with Abbitt's assessment.

The first-term Delegate, who represents most of Prince Edward in the House, told The Herald on Thursday that he believes the redistricting plan will pass, giving him Abbitt's slice of Prince Edward, consolidating the entire county into the 60th District, which Edmunds believes makes the most sense.

The redistricting plan, proposed by Republicans, would shift Cumberland into the 61st District, represented by Tommy Wright, a district that would stretch to the North Carolina border, including Clarksville, South Hill and Chase City.

Because the GOP controls the House, the proposed plan is considered likely to get enough votes to pass.

On the Senate side, the likely redistricting plan-devised by Democrats, who control the Senate-would see Buckingham join Cumberland County in Sen. John Watkins' 10th district. Prince Edward, meanwhile, would join Sen. Steve Martin's 11th district, which includes Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights.

Prince Edward is now in Sen. Frank Ruff's 15th District, as is most of Buckingham and a portion of Cumberland. Ruff told The Herald on Thursday that the Democratic Senate redistricting proposal “destroys a lot of community of interests.”