St. Joseph County Commissioners vote 2-1 in favor of new district map
St. Joseph County Commissioners have redrawn the boundaries that separate the county into the three commissioner districts. The proposed 2021 map is significantly different than the current map drawn in 2019. (scroll down to compare the two maps)
Of the community members who spoke at Tuesdays meeting, 23 were opposed to the new map. One of the complaints is the map separates minorities into one district. Three community members spoke in favor of the maps.
Commissioners Andrew Kostielney and Deborah Fleming voted in favor of the new map, but Commissioner Derek Dieter voted against it.
“I agree with people. That's the way that map is currently drawn, the minorities are tucked into that district. So, again, I think the comments here were spot on. The role of government officials is to listen to that and then make a decision. But in my mind, the two people up there, they were already going to vote, how they're going to vote,” said Dieter, District 2. “My sense is when you ask for public input, you ask for people's own maps, And they do, and they come here and express overwhelmingly, they're against it, and the two other commissioners said, cool. We're still voting this way.”
“There are four county council members in one Commissioner district now, because we disregarded where any current elected official lived or any candidates or anyone lived. We try to draw clean boundaries that would kind of put people together so the city of South Bend for the most part stays together. Mishawaka does, all the township remain whole because we think that's important. Keep those like groups together,” said Kostielney, District 1.
This was just the first vote about the redistricting. Commissioners will vote again on the issue next week.
Comparing the maps
Currently, District 1 includes Granger and Roseland as well as German, Clay and Harris townships. District 2 includes part of South Bend, along with North Liberty, New Carlisle and Lakeville. District 3 includes Mishawaka, Osceola, and Penn Township.
In the proposed 2021 redistricting plan, District 1 would include North Liberty, New Carlisle, Roseland, Granger and German, Clay and Harris townships. District 2 would include a majority of South Bend. District 3 would include Mishawaka, Osceola, Lakeville, as well as Penn and Centre townships.
Use the slider in the center of the picture below to compare the current districts for St. Joseph County Commissioners to the proposed map.