Oklahoma Senate leader files new congressional redistricting plan

Tuesday, April 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A new congressional redistricting plan that places two congressmen in the same district was unveiled Tuesday by Senate President Pro Tem Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore.

Taylor said the plan ``puts the people ahead of incumbent politicians'' and preserves the historic structure of existing congressional districts.

``It preserves historic communities of interest, retains the flavor of existing districts and complies with all of the one-man, one-vote requirements,'' Taylor said.

The plan was submitted to a state court in Oklahoma County that has been asked to redraw Oklahoma's congressional districts. Taylor said it will not be submitted to the Senate for a vote.

``The governor has indicated he would veto this plan,'' Taylor said.

Oklahoma is losing one of its six U.S. House districts because of the state's slow population growth in the past decade.

Taylor's congressional redistricting plan places two incumbent congressmen, 5th District Rep. Ernest J. Istook, and 6th District Rep. Frank Lucas, in the same district. The 6th Congressional District would be renamed the 5th District under the plan.

Taylor said his plan is dramatically different from one drawn by Gov. Frank Keating. he said Keating's top consideration was to protect five incumbent congressmen who are running for re-election.

Keating has repeatedly vowed to veto any redistricting plan that does not protect incumbents.

Taylor also said the congressional districts in his plan are more compact than in Keating's plan.

State House leaders have developed separate redistricting proposals but have been unable to reach a consensus.