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The Daily Tar Heel

Forum to Discuss Redistricting Plans

Democrats and Republicans each introduced different redistricting plans earlier this week.

Both parties have admitted that the newly created 13th district probably will be Democratic, but the two plans differ in the political distribution in some of the remaining districts.

Results of the 2000 U.S. Census allotted North Carolina an additional seat in the U.S. House.

Legislators said there are two separate plans because each party tries to protect its own incumbents and create additional seats.

Rep. Dewey Hill, D-Columbus, co-sponsor of the Democratic redistricting plan, said a common trend in redistricting legislation is for representatives to look out for their own party.

"The Democratic plan is more spread out than the Republican plan," Hill said. "It will create districts that are more friendly to Democrats, and the Republican plan leans toward Republicans."

The U.S. congressional delegation from North Carolina contains seven Republicans and five Democrats. Hill added that he expects the 13th district will be more Democratic than Republican.

Rep. Cary Allred, R-Alamance, said he thinks the Republican plan respects county lines more than the Democratic plan.

"The Republican plan would more than likely help Southern Republicans remain in Congress," he said.

Hill said that after the forum the committee will consider public input and make any necessary amendments to the Democratic plan. He said he expects a full House vote on the proposal by the end of next week.

Allred said he expects all Republican committee members will be present for the committee vote and will vote as a bloc. He said this would result in a tie -- causing the Democratic proposal to fail and forcing a compromise between the two plans.

But Hill said he does not expect the congressional redistricting process to be as drawn out as the plan to redraw state House districts.

State redistricting was held up for more than a week by a group of black Democrats who urged for more minority representation.

"With only 13 districts, it would be hard to single out any particular race," Hill said.

But he added that it is important for legislators to agree on the best plan because it will last for 10 years.

"I want to see a plan that people will be happy with," Hill said. "We want to draw maps that will be what people want."

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