Hours after Georgia’s congressional district map cleared the state House of Representatives, two local lawmakers met with some of their constituents.
District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton and District 24 state Rep. Mike Dudgeon spoke to the Forsyth County Young Republicans about why they voted to approve the map, which awaits state Senate approval.
“I agonized over this vote. I lost sleep over it,” Dudgeon said after the meeting.
“I fully well knew that Forsyth got an unfair amount and didn’t get what we really deserved with our growth and our percent of Republican voters. But … overall for the state, it’s a great map.”
Every decade, the congressional map is redrawn to match changes in population as determined by the U.S. Census.
Hamilton said the map he approved Thursday had some tweaks from the original version, but none affecting Forsyth, which will be further divided between Districts 7 and 9.
The proposed District 7 contains a population of between 120,000 and 125,000, with the District 9 having about 50,000 to 55,000 people.
“The entire Forsyth delegation heard loud and clear from the very beginning from people that were involved in the process that the main goal was to [make] Forsyth County whole,” Hamilton said after the meeting. “I as well as other delegation members took that message to the capitol … but obviously we weren’t able to accomplish that.”
Because of its population growth, Georgia does gain one congressional seat. The map places that in District 9, with District 14 becoming home to current District 9 Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger.
“The reality is the governor and lieutenant governor live in Hall County and they just have more influence over things like that,” Dudgeon said. “And so therefore they got what they wanted — having Hall being the center of a congressional district. (District 9).”
Hamilton did say there were some potential positives for Forsyth, including having two transportation department representatives and two members on the University System’s Board of Regents.
“With the growth of North Georgia College & State University … I think having two congressmen to work with us there will be good,” Hamilton said.