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Norm Dicks: I want to keep Tacoma

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
September 14, 2011 2:43 pm
Dicks speaks in front of the Murray Morgan Bridge in Tacoma./ JOE BARRENTINE

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks today criticized a Republican-drawn redistricting map that would slice Tacoma off of his district.

Four redistricting commissioners unveiled maps Tuesday, including Tom Huff, who wants to put Olympia, Lacey and Bainbridge Island into Dicks’s 6th Congressional District and move Tacoma and Gig Harbor into Rep. Adam Smith‘s 9th district.

Dicks said Huff “made a serious mistake.”

“Taking me out of Tacoma is very hard to understand. The other three commissioners all keep Tacoma in my district,” Dicks said in an interview. “I just think this looks very political.”

Dicks noted he has represented Tacoma since his first election to Congress in 1976 and said there’s an important tie between Tacoma and Bremerton in that both areas are home to military bases. Dicks is the top Democrat on the defense budget subcommittee.

“Tom Huff is a very nice person,” Dicks said of the Gig Harbor Republican. “I want to continue to represent him.”

Huff said his move of the 1st district into a more rural orientation required changes on the Kitsap Peninsula.

“It fit perfectly well for the Gig Harbor area to move into the 9th district,” he said.

Smith is taking a wait-and-see approach to redistricting, saying he would be glad to represent whoever ends up in his district.

Another one of the plans also spells major changes for Dicks’s 6th. Democrat Dean Foster‘s plan would carve out a new 10th district that would take over most of the Olympic Peninsula.

The plan would split Mason and Jefferson counties, and Mason County state Sen. Tim Sheldon, a conservative Democrat, said it would not be popular with local residents because they’ve been in the 6th district for so long.

Dicks, though, didn’t have strong criticism of Foster’s map.

“I have enjoyed representing the Olympica Peninsula. I would prefer not to give it up,” Dicks said. “We’re going to wait and see what the outcome here is before we make a definitive judgment.

“The part of (Foster’s) map that I like is keeping Tacoma in my district.”

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