What re-districting could mean for minority communities

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 10:31 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - On December 1st, the Legislative Corporations Committee will have a statewide meeting at the Capitol.

It is to align plans for redistricting.

After each census, redistricting takes place to account for the change in populations.

The purpose is to make certain regions have equal voting power.

Under the new census redistricting plan, Laramie County is proposing to add a district.

“There are 4 or 5 proposals on the table on where that eleventh seat goes, and how we re-draw the current district boundaries, throughout both Cheyenne and Laramie County as a whole,” said Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, House District 43.

For the last ten years, districts have followed school districts, but some communities are asking for more representation with this additional district, particularly minority groups in Laramie County.

With a 15 percent Hispanic population in South Cheyenne, Carla Gregorio, an advocate for the Wyoming Independent Citizens Coalition, feels her community lacks enough representation.

The representation that could positively affect outcomes on the school boards, Medicaid expansion, or bills that affect the 82007 districts.

“We found out our vote is separated into 4 districts, so it is watered down. Now if they do this proposal we’ll have 2 House and 1 Senator and they will be from South Cheyenne,” said Gregorio.

The Wyoming Independent Citizens Coalition is even offering to train community members in December to get involved and run on boards and politics to make a difference in their communities.

Critics state that Wyoming is a primarily white and rural state and that minority representation isn’t needed here.

”Times are changing. Not only here in this community but across that country minorities , ethnic minorities, ethnic groups are increasing in numbers and the projections are that over the 15 or 20 years if not sooner we as a white, me as a white person will be a minority. So its to our benefit to include everybody in our proposals and our legislation so that we take care of each other take care of everybody,” said Ed Boenisch, member of Wyoming Independent Citizen Coalition.

As Wyoming grows, so will its population and the face of our state.

What that will look like will depend on the decisions and involvement of our communities and their people.

According to Zwonitzer, the only official “majority minority” group in Wyoming is the Native American reservation in Fremont county.

That area is being redrawn to include 65 percent of that voter population.

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