Take a look at the picture on the right? This is a picture of the proposed Georgia House Districts 156 (northern Appling) and 178 (southern Appling) dividing line along Highway 15 South in Baxley. In careful observation, notice the circled areas. See anything unusual? One circle is the Appling County Board of Education central office located on the east side of Highway 15 and the other circle represents Appling County High School located on the west side of the highway. This is an example of how confusing it is going to be having our county split into different house districts. The board office would be in District 156 and the high school will be in District 178, even though they are basically across the road from each other.
Several weeks ago when Representative Tommy Smith (currently represents Appling) invited Chairman of the joint House/Senate Committee on Reapportionment Rep. Roger Lane (R-Darien) to come speak and garner input from citizens in Appling and Jeff Davis counties concerning reapportionment at the Appling County Courthouse Annex, the feelings expressed were real clear. The citizens along with Rep. Smith requested that Chairman Lane and his committee look at putting like-minded communities such as Appling, Jeff Davis and Bacon together in this redistricting process. One would have to assume that these requests fell on deaf ears after viewing the proposed maps. There were also emails sent to House Speaker David Ralston and Governor Nathan Deal that also made this same request.
After studying the maps for a period of time, it’s interesting how some districts are much the same (especially some committee member districts). According to the proposed map, Lane’s district remained much intact. Then if you look over at the area where Vice-Chairman of the Reapportionment Committee Senator Mitch Seabaugh’s (R-Sharpsburg) district is located in central/west Georgia, this district too had very little change. Amazing. I guess following the 2010 Census these areas stayed identical to the 2000 Census.
Ralston exclaimed in a news release that, “Chairman Lane has drawn a map that is fair to all Georgians. By releasing this plan before the session, Republicans have fulfilled the commitment to draw maps in a fair, open, and transparent process that is completely different from the Democratic games in 2001.”
That’s seems like a bold statement considering the way our community has been split and the fact that Smith has now been paired against another incumbent in an entirely different district.