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Local

Tri-Cities would get new representation in Dem map

Two of the Tri-Cities state lawmakers could be forced to square off in a Republican primary election in 2012, should a map drawn up by Democrats become law.

On Friday, Illinois Democratic lawmakers offered the public a first look at their plans for the districts from which voters will choose those who will represent them in the state House of Representatives.

The House map closely corresponds to a map of proposed districts for the Illinois State Senate that was released Thursday by the Democrats who control that half of the state’s General Assembly.

The proposed House map would divide Kane County into nine legislative districts.

The Tri-Cities, however, would be primarily centered in one district – the proposed 49th Legislative District. That district would include almost all of Geneva and Batavia east of Randall Road. The district would also include the portions of the city of St. Charles from Route 25 to Kirk Road.

From there, the district runs east to Route 59 in West Chicago and includes portions of Aurora along Eola Road north and south of Interstate 88.

The rest of St. Charles would be sent into the new 65th Legislative District, which would stretch west to Campton Hills and then north and west through St. Charles and Elgin townships, including South Elgin, and northwest to Hampshire and Gilberts.

Western portions of Kane County would be divided among two districts. Campton Hills, Lily Lake, Virgil, Kaneville and Maple Park would be pushed into the 70th Legislative District. That district would run from Campton Hills west to include most of northern DeKalb County, including the cities of DeKalb, Sycamore, Hinckley and Genoa. That district is now represented by State Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinckley.

Elburn and Sugar Grove would be grouped in a new 50th Legislative District, which would stretch south to Yorkville and the western reaches of Oswego. That district would be roughly bounded by Randall Road or Orchard Road on the east and on the west by a line extended from Dugan Road north to near the intersection of Routes 47 and 64. The district would include the city of Montgomery and a portion of Aurora.

The 50th District is now represented by State Rep. Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville. Should the proposed map be approved, she would avoid a primary matchup with State Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, the minority party leader in the House. Cross’ home is just inside the neighboring 97th District.

However, State Rep. Tim Schmitz, R-Batavia, and State Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago, could be slated for a primary matchup, as both lawmakers would reside within the proposed 49th District.

Schmitz, who has served in the House since 1999 and now holds leadership positions among the Republican House lawmakers, currently represents a district that runs from the west side of Batavia north to western portions of Elgin and Carpentersville and then west to Gilberts and Hampshire.

Fortner’s district includes eastern portions of Geneva and Batavia, as well as West Chicago and other western portions of DuPage County.

Neither Schmitz nor Hatcher returned calls seeking comment on the map.

Fortner, who has served in the House since 2007, said he was aware that the proposed map renderings could place him into a difficult election matchup when the newly drawn districts take effect in 2012.

But at this time, Fortner would not say if he would run for re-election in 2012.

“When you’re running for office every two years, you have to decide what is best for your family and for your constituents,” Fortner said. “When a situation like this arises, you have to ask yourself the same question.”

Like other Illinois Republicans, Fortner criticized the process by which Democrats drew the new lines on the map. He was particularly critical of what he described as a disregard for city boundaries.

“When we conducted hearings on redistricting, the thing we heard more than anything else was a desire to keep cities in the same district,” Fortner said. “It looks like that was disregarded.”

The House Democratic leadership has scheduled hearings on the proposed maps this weekend and early next week. They have indicated a desire to send approved maps to Gov. Pat Quinn for his approval by the end of this month.

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