People from Aberdeen area support Dennert’s ‘Grouse’ proposal for S.D. legislative districts

Capitol News Bureau

Grouse redistricting proposal

ABERDEEN, S.D. (KELO) — Not a discouraging word was heard Tuesday afternoon about an Aberdeen lawmaker’s plan for drawing different election boundaries for many of South Dakota’s 35 legislative districts.

Nearly everyone who took the microphone spoke favorably about the Grouse proposal from Representative Drew Dennert.

“It keeps things very similar to where they are now,” said Senator Al Novstrup.

State lawmakers are scheduled to meet November 8 in a special session to consider approving a map for legislative elections starting with the 2022 contests through 2030.

The House and Senate redistricting committees opened a statewide listening tour Monday with public meetings at Black Hills State University-Rapid City and at the Rosebud Sioux casino. They traveled Tuesday from Mobridge to Aberdeen to Watertown. They wrap up Wednesday with 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. meetings at Community College for Sioux Falls.

Dennert’s plan would reduce Brown County to two districts from the current three. That matches a resolution from the Brown County Commission. Three commissioners — Republicans Rachel Kippley and Mike Wiese, and Democrat Dennis Feickert, a former representative — said Tuesday they back Dennert’s approach.

Melanie Bobby of Aberdeen said his plan reflects the region’s needs. “I really think this makes the most sense,” she said.

Added Kayla Weis of Aberdeen, whose husband, Kaleb Weis, is a legislator, “We are the third-biggest city in the state.”

Representative Lana Greenfield is term-limited and can’t seek re-election to her House seat. Other plans would eliminate District 2 that she now represents and reassign its numerical designator south to the Brandon area. Dennert’s would keep much of it intact.

“There’s no reason it should be gotten rid of,” Greenfield said.

The committees are considering four proposals altogether. The three others are:

Blackbird, from Senator Casey Crabtree;

Falcon, from Senator Jim Bolin; and

Eagle, from Senator Troy Heinert.

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