Redistricting brings changes in lines and representation

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By Becky Barnes


After a less-than-favorable start, the new boundary lines have been drawn for Kentucky’s legislators.

A five-day special session where lawmakers’ only agenda was to pass newly drawn maps as required by the constitution, ended Friday with what local representatives deemed fair.

State Rep. Tom McKee called the vote to pass new boundary lines a truly bipartisan effort by his colleagues.

McKee will continue to represent all of Harrison and Pendleton counties and pick up a portion of Scott County. The 78th District lost all of Robertson and the southern tip of Campbell County.

“My greatest concern is that we lose Robertson County, a county that has been an honor to represent,” said McKee, adding that losing  Campbell County’s southern tip was also difficult to give up.

The good news is that Harrison County remained intact in both the House and Senate redistricting.

Scott County was divvied up among three representatives in the House district with McKee taking all of seven precincts and portions of others.

Harrison County was completely taken away from the 28th Senate District.

Harrison County was previously represented in the senate by  R.J. Palmer (D) Winchester. However, Friday’s vote cast Harrison County into the 27th District with veteran senator, Walter “Doc” Blevins (D), a dentist from West Liberty.

“It’s hard to give up counties you’ve been working in for 15 years or more,” said Blevins in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

However, Blevins said he is looking forward to meeting his new constituents. 

“I’ll have to get busy to met people in these new counties,” he said.

Blevins, who previously represented more eastern counties, dealt with needs very different from those of his new counties.  

“This is the first time I’ve represented counties that are better off than the eastern Kentucky counties,” he said.

Blevins previously represented Boyd, Elliott, Fleming, Lawrence and Rowan counties. His new district is made up of Rowan, Fleming, Lewis, Mason, Robertson, Nicholas, Bourbon and Harrison.

He said he looks forward to working with Rep. McKee and the area’s former senator R.J. Palmer to determine what Harrison County needs.

“I try to do more listening than I do talking,” said Blevins. “I want to find out the needs then work to make those come true.”

Blevins grew up in West Liberty as the oldest of five children. 

His wife, Cheryl Stegall, works in Lexington as vice president and general manager of Point Six.

He has three daughters and two grandchildren.

Blevins serves on the Education Committee, State and Local Government Committee and Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

Following Friday’s vote on the  new boundaries, Blevins was in Cynthiana for the Joe B. Hall Bridge dedication.

Blevins said during his lengthy incumbency in state government, which started as a representative in the House, he has served 28 or 29 counties.

 He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1981. He remained in the House for 10 years and then made a successful bid for senator.