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Covington residents, local leaders push back on Kentucky redistricting plans

Downtown Covington.jpg
Posted at 6:55 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 23:31:48-05

COVINGTON, Ky. — Leaders and residents in Covington are pushing back on a redistricting plan put forward by Kentucky House representatives.

Residents say they are worried that being lumped into larger voting blocks with their suburban counterparts in neighboring cities will obscure Covington's specific needs as an urban core, saying Covington is unique and the priorities of the city could clash with voters who may have different values.

"There's a completely different need there in terms of just every kind of issue across the board, whether it be LGBTQ rights, whether it be gentrification," said resident David Maley. “Any of those things will start to happen very quickly, and I think having those residents in Covington not being able to have a voice anymore where they can quickly get pushed aside by more suburban, more influential individuals, I think that becomes a problem."

Last night, Covington's board of commissioners passed a resolution calling on state leaders to revise the redistricting proposal dissolving what is now District 65. The resolution outlines the problems with the proposal and petitions leadership to create district boundaries that secure representation specific to the city. If the House enacts the current proposal, this would be the first time Covington would not have a representative in the general assembly in Kentucky's history.

"Covington north of I-275 is made up of neighborhoods that have been urban for 100-200 years," state Rep. Charles Wheatley of Covington said in a statement. "Interests are as diverse as one can imagine with urban core issues versus farmland communities."

Rep. Rachel Roberts of Newport — another city that could have new district lines — also issued a statement on the plan.

"At a time when public trust in the political process is at an all-time low, rushing redistricting through in the first week is a very bad look and does not give the public adequate time to review the maps, which have already been changed since they were first released," Roberts said. "Nor does it give them time to weigh in on who does, and can in the future, represent them. "

If the proposal moves forward as planned, it may be enacted in the house by Saturday.

Monique John covers gentrification for WCPO 9. She is part of our Report For America donor-supported journalism program. Read more about RFA here.

If there are stories about gentrification in the Greater Cincinnati area that you think we should cover, let us know. Send us your tips at moveupcincinnati@wcpo.com.