Redistricting shuffles state lawmakers

Alisa Boswell

Local state representatives say big changes are in store for state House districts under a new redistricting plan declared law Tuesday by Santa Fe Judge James Hall.

“My district currently stretches from Portales to the Colorado state line, but in the new map, I would take on a bigger portion of Portales, almost the whole eastern portion,” said Rep. Dennis Roch, of District 67. “It’s a pretty compact district now compared to the one that took me all the way out to Clayton.”

Roch said he is very happy with the changes to his district, because they allow him to focus more closely on his home counties of Curry and Roosevelt.

“While I regret not being able to represent the northern part of the state any longer, I am really excited to be able to focus my attention and energies on Clovis and Portales,” Roch said. “That’s where I am a native of. I think it will give eastern New Mexico a stronger voice, because it won’t be diluted by the inclusion of a large regional area.”

Rep. George Dodge, of District 63, said his district has also been affected by the new plan, moving him away from Curry and Roosevelt counties and into Quay, Union and Harding counties.

“It’s a huge move. I’ve made a lot of great friends in the Clovis, Portales and Melrose areas and it’s a big change for me,” Dodge said. “I tried to do my best for them, and I wish I could have kept them in my district, but it just didn’t work out that way. Things change.”

Dodge said although he will no longer represent Curry and Roosevelt counties, residents of the two counties can always come to him for help and questions.

“It’s tough, but I have a lot of friends in Tucumcari and Las Vegas (N.M.) I feel confident about being able to connect with people,” Dodge said of the new counties in his district.

District 64 Rep. Anna Crook said she had little time to look over the new district map Wednesday, but as far as she can tell, there is less change to her district.

“Overall, it was closer and more fair then it has been in a long time,” Crook said of the new plan. “It allows districts to be more competitive then in the past. It goes by the number of voters and the people who vote.”

Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs John Yaeger said the only change, which has paired two representatives together is the combining of part of Rep. Bob Wooley’s District 66 and Rep. Dennis Kintigh’s District 57.

Roch said the November election will determine which of the representatives will keep Roosevelt County.