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Residents feel misrepresented

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Nov. 29, 2001
When John Gressett of Collinsville hops on his yellow Kubota lawn mower, he cuts the grass closest to his house and finishes the rest of his 2 acres if he has time.
Unfortunately, Gressett said, he feels that same logic applies with government representation in northwest Lauderdale County the area he has called home his entire life.
Gressett lives near Collinsville on Highway 494. But his state representative is from Quitman, his state senator is from Newton and his school board member is from Clarkdale.
Drawing lines
Gressett is one of several residents in the Collinsville area who feel misrepresented in state and local government. They want state legislators and county supervisors to correct the problem.
Elected officials could do that when they redraw legislative and school board districts. County supervisors already are at work on the school board; lawmakers are expected to begin work next year.
Legislators and county supervisors redraw district lines every 10 years to reflect recent population changes and shifts. The goal: Every district should have roughly the same number of residents.
State Rep. Greg Snowden, a Republican who represents part of nearby Meridian, said he sympathizes with residents near Collinsville. But Snowden said he doesn't see an easy solution.
Better representation
Lauderdale County Supervisor Craig Hitt, who represents residents near Collinsville, said supervisors hope to improve representation on the school board for that part of the county.
William Rushing, who lives on Highway 494 in the Suqualena community which also is near Collinsville said he often calls a state representative of a different district when he has a problem.
Instead of calling his own House member, Rep. Eric Robinson, R-Quitman, Rushing calls a legislator who lives closer, Rep. Tommy Horne, I-Meridian.
Change needed
Gressett said he just hopes something can be worked out by county supervisors and the state Legislature to give residents in his area better representation.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.

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