Members of the Michigan redistricting commission have approved new maps for the state's congressional districts, the state house, and the state senate.
They reached their decisions after months of planning and more than 25,000 comments from residents across the state, and the changes will shape the state's political landscape for the coming decade.
“We compromised we collaboratively came together, and we were able to choose maps today,” Commissioner Cynthia Orton said.
They voted Tuesday for congressional and legislative maps that are expected to be fairer to democrats than the ones drawn up by Republicans for the past two decades.
“Are they perfect? No, they're not perfect, but we worked really hard, and we listened,” Commissioner Steven Lett said.
The commission was formed by voters in 2018 to eliminate partisan gerrymandering, and almost all 13 members agreed that the process will need refinements.
Commissioner Brittni Kellom was overcome with emotion over how the final map affects black voters in areas like Detroit, Flint and Saginaw.
“How do you balance the fact that we live in a place that loves numbers and math and proving things but then we have people that have experience with access and being disenfranchised,” Kellom said. “Do I wish that we could have pushed harder with time to massage the concerns. Do I wish that there was more time to get it right, absolutely.”
Among some of the changes, Flint and Grand Blanc will now be in the same senate district, as will Bay City, Midland and Saginaw. The newly drawn Eighth Congressional District includes many communities Congressman Dan Kildee represents, but it now includes Midland and parts of Midland County.
“I think it worked out really well it’s a compact district it feels like home to me,” Kildee said.
Kildee said the new district is familiar territory and he is confident about his chances of being re-elected.
“If they are struggling to make ends meet if they’re struggling to make sure they don’t have to choose between buying lifesaving medicine or paying the rent then I think I’m a good fit for that family and that district,” Kildee said.