Tonight, state representatives from house districts in middle and southern Georgia came together to allow you, the voters the chance to voice questions and concerns about redistricting in Georgia. At an open forum at Fort Valley State University, legislators took the opportunity to explain the process.
"Because of the growth in our state in northern and metro areas in our state, south Georgia is going to lose representation in the general assembly," says State Representative Carolyn Hugley, District 133.
So is middle Georgia. As students and members of rural communities like Peach County questioned the process of redistricting, former state representative David Lucas made it very clear that in the past, this process was dominated by the Republicans.
"The problem is, we will be fighting. Republicans are in charge and they are going to try and increase their numbers. Reapportionment has always been that way."
Now, Democratic legislators want to make sure that citizens in rural communities have a fighting chance before lines are drawn.
"I had a question about who actually drew the lines, and were the Republicans over it," says Peach County resident Ashley Hill.
Her question was answered. As Hugley says, this forum was also a way for citizens to get some face time in with the people who represent them in Atlanta.
"They need to understand that the districts in this part of the state are going to be larger and there will be a greater distance between them and their elected representative in terms of geography."
Even though the population in District 139 may grow in miles rather than numbers, newly elected Dr. James Beverly says he wants to make sure that residents in his district always have a voice.
"The hope is that the real concerns are brought back, and that there is real consideration. because if we can really start to deal with what the people really want than I think it gives us room to negotiate what borders really should be."
State representatives will meet in Atlanta next month during a special session to draw out the maps to begin the final steps in the redistricting process.