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Senate passes bill that would move Chilton County to 3rd Congressional District

The Alabama Senate passed a bill Thursday that would move Chilton County from Alabama’s 6th Congressional District into the 3rd.

The change, approved by a 19-11 vote, was contrary to the Legislature’s reapportionment committee’s recommendation to keep Chilton County in the 6th District. The plan, which was proposed by Sen. Scott Beason (R-Gardendale), will now go before the Alabama House sometime next week.

State Sen. Cam Ward, who represents Chilton County and served on the reapportionment committee, said he’s adamantly opposed to any plan that moves Chilton County out of the 6th District. He said he would work next week to get the Senate’s vote reversed in the House.

“I can tell you this, we are going to get this plan reversed if I have anything to do with it,” Ward said.

Ward said the change would move Chilton County from a district where it gets a lot of attention being one of seven counties into a district that encompasses 13 counties.

Geographically speaking, the 3rd district includes much of east-central Alabama, including the cities of Anniston, Talladega, Alexander City, Auburn and parts of Montgomery. Under the plan approved Thursday, Chilton County would be the most western part of the district — not a good fit, Ward said.

“This is not fair to our folks,” Ward said. “He [Beason] really hurt the people of Chilton County. I’m going to be adamantly opposed to it.”

The seat is currently held by three-term Congressman Mike Rodgers (R-Anniston), and was the seat held by former Gov. Bob Riley before he ran for governor.

Ward said he hopes the Alabama House approves the plan first recommended by the reapportionment committee.

“I think you are going to see a different plan come out of the House,” Ward said.

If separate plans are approved, the differences would have to be worked out in a conference meeting.

There are four legislative days left in this year’s session. If a redistricting plan isn’t approved by then, a costly special session would be called.

“If it goes down to having one senator to force us into a special session … that would be bad for everyone,” Ward said.