The state legislative districts in Stark County, which decide whom state representatives and state senators in the Ohio General Assembly will represent would totally change under a draft redistricting map released Friday by the Ohio Apportionment Board.
State Rep. Stephen Slesnick, D-Canton, may not want to root too hard against the Massillon Tigers football team this year when they play the McKinley Bulldogs.
That’s because, if he runs for re-election next year, he could be seeking to represent a new Ohio House district that includes both Canton and most of Massillon.
The Republican-controlled Ohio Apportionment Board released proposed maps Friday that would substantially redraw Stark County’s state House and state Senate districts starting with the 2012 elections.
What that ensures is tens of thousands of Stark County residents will have different state representatives in 2013.
Under the plan, most of Massillon would leave the district represented by State Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, and join a new Ohio 49th District that includes Canton and south central Stark County.
Plain Township, which is now nearly all in Schuring’s district with some territory in Slesnick's district, would be divided up by three new state House districts. Stark County Democratic Party Political Director Shane Jackson said that hurts Plain because “there’ll be confusion on who your representative is. ... You have more clout, more standing as a community. Now, Plain Township will be a small piece of three house districts.” The map also divides Massillon, Bethlehem Township, Perry Township, Canton Township and Osnaburg Township.
Schuring’s district, which would keep Jackson Township and North Canton and gain Meyers Lake, Navarre and parts of the townships of Perry, Bethlehem and Canton, would become the Ohio 48th District.
“I’m happy with my district,” said Schuring. “The new areas in the House district that I will now have are areas that I’ve represented in the past as a member of the Ohio Senate.”
Far western Stark County would join the 27th Senate District and the new 38th House district, which also includes western Summit County, which is now represented by State Rep. Lynn Slaby, R-Copley Township, a former Summit County prosecutor and retired state appeals court judge.
The new 27th Senate District would also include most of Summit County and Wayne County and would be represented by State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Akron.
The 50th House District, represented by State Rep. Christina Hagan, R-Marlboro Township, would lose its U-shape that stretches from Canal Fulton, swings through southern Stark and moves around up to Hartville. The 50th would lose western and south central Stark County, becoming a more compact district covering all of eastern Stark County including the county's portions of Minerva and Alliance.
The 29th Senate District of State Sen. Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton, which has covered all of Stark County west of the townships of Lexington, Washington and Paris since 1982, would shift. The new 29th would cover nearly all of Stark County east of the townships of Lawrence, Tuscarawas and Sugar Creek.
Page 2 of 4 - Oelslager said he was “very excited” to be representing Alliance, because he’s a graduate of the University of Mount Union.
Jackson said the new map keeps two Republican-leaning House districts and one Democratic-leaning House district wholly in Stark County with a western portion that’s Republican-leaning, rather than the current eastern portion represented by a Democrat.
The Ohio Constitution requires a state apportionment board to redraw state legislative district lines every 10 years to reflect population shifts.
The board is made up of Gov. John Kasich, Secretary of State Jon Husted, State Auditor Dave Yost, Senate President Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond and House Minority Leader Armond Budish, D-Beachwood. Four of the five members are Republicans.
The deadline for the board to approve a new district map is Oct. 1. Each House district has to have roughly the same number of people. Each Senate district is made up of the territory of three House districts. Because Canton lost nearly 10 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010, the population of Slesnick’s district is roughly 15 percent below the average for a district and had to be expanded. That's one reason why most of Massillon and south central Stark County would be added to that district.
Attaching Republican-leaning western Stark County to a House district and a Senate district made up mostly of Summit County residents bolsters Republicans Slaby and LaRose, who represent potential swing districts.
Unless they relocate, several prominent Democrats in western Stark County, under the new map, cannot run against Hagan, who says she will seek to be elected next year to again represent the 50th District. Gone from the district are former Democratic state representatives Johnnie Maier of Tuscarawas Township and Mike Stevens of Lawrence Township as well as Shane Jackson’s mother, former Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson of Perry Township and former Tuscarawas Township Trustee Celeste DeHoff, who ran unsuccessfully for state representative in 2008.
Former Republican Stark County commissioner Richard Regula of Bethlehem Township, who had competed with Hagan for the appointment to the 50th District seat, also can’t mount a primary challenge against her unless he moves.
“If you look at the big winner, it’s Christina Hagan,” said Shane Jackson. ‘That’s a pretty strong Republican district.”
If Hagan wins the election, she would represent Alliance, where she was the 2007 Carnation Festival Queen and worked as a server for the Alliance restaurant Pisanello’s. She also would represent her alma mater, Marlington High School in Lexington Township.
“It’s more compact, so for me it saves more time on driving,” she said, adding that she’ll miss representing western Stark County. “I’ll be much closer to all my constituents.”
Current Ohio House and Senate Districts
Page 3 of 4 - 50th House District, State Rep. Christina Hagan, Republican - Canal Fulton, Lawrence Township, Tuscarawas Township (part not surrounded by Massillon), small part of Massillon, Brewster, Sugar Creek Township, Beach City, Wilmot, part of Perry Township, Navarre, Bethlehem Township, Pike Township, Sandy Township, East Sparta, Waynesburg, Magnolia, Osnaburg Township, East Canton, Louisville, Nimishillen Township, Marlboro Township, Lake Township, Hartville.
51st House District, State Rep. Kirk Schuring, Republican - nearly all of Massillon and Plain Township, Hills and Dales, parts of Perry Township and Tuscarawas Township surrounded by Massillon, Jackson Township and North Canton
52nd House District, State Rep. Stephen Slesnick, Democrat - Canton, Canton Township, Meyers Lake, eastern Perry Township and small parts of Plain Township.
29th Senate District, State Sen. Scott Oelslager, Republican - includes 50th, 51st and 52nd House Districts.
61st House District, State Rep. Mark Okey, Democrat - Alliance, Minerva, Lexington Township, Washington Township, Paris Township, Limaville, Carroll County, western Tuscarawas County and northern Mahoning County.
33rd Senate District, State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, Democrat - includes 61st House District and all of Mahoning County.
New Ohio House and Senate Districts, 2013-2022
38th House District, if re-elected would be represented by State Rep. Lynn Slaby, R-Copley Township. Stark County: Beach City, Brewster, Canal Fulton, Lawrence Township, Massillon Ward 6 (most of Massillon west of 17th Street), Sugar Creek Township, nearly all of Tuscarawas Township and Wilmot. Summit County: Much of Bath Township, Boston Heights, Boston Township, Clinton, Copley Township, Fairlawn, New Franklin, Norton, Peninsula, Richfield city, Richfield village and Sagamore Hills Township.
27th Senate District, State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Akron: 38th House District, Wayne County and Hudson, Macedonia, Munroe Falls, Northfield Center Township, Northfield, Reminderville, Silver Lake, Stow, Twinsburg, Twinsburg Township and part of Cuyahoga Falls.
48th House District, if re-elected would be represented by State Rep. Kirk Schuring (R): Hills and Dales, Jackson Township, Meyers Lake, Navarre, North Canton and parts of the townships of Bethlehem, Canton, Perry and Plain.
49th House District, if re-elected would be represented by State Rep. Stephen Slesnick (D): Canton, East Sparta, Pike Township and parts of Massillon and the townships of Bethlehem, Canton, Osnaburg, Perry and Plain.
50th House District, if re-elected would be represented by State Rep. Christina Hagan (R): Alliance (except tiny portion in Mahoning County), East Canton, Hartville, Lake Township, Lexington Township, Limaville, Louisville, Magnolia (except portion in Carroll County), Marlboro Township, Minerva (except portion in Carroll County), Nimishillen Township, Paris Township, Sandy Township, Washington Township, Waynesburg and parts of the townships of Osnaburg and Plain
29th Senate District, State Sen. Scott Oelslager (R): 48th, 49th and 50th House districts
Note: Tiny portions of Alliance in Mahoning County would be in the Ohio 59th House District. Portions of Minerva and Magnolia in Carroll County would be in the Ohio 95th House District. Portion of Minerva in Columbiana County would be in the Ohio 5th House District.
Page 4 of 4 - Source: Reshapeohio.org