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Posted: April 8, 2011 1:00 a.m.

Will Newton gain more state influence?

The lines have yet to be drawn, but Newton County's state representation will change and its influence should theoretically increase, given the fact the county gained nearly 40,000 residents in the past decade.

As with most counties, Newton County's state representation is splintered. Three state representatives have a portion of Newton in their districts.

Rep. Doug Holt (R-Social Circle) is the representative from District 112, which contains the largest portion of Newton, starting from Covington's city limits and moving east. His district, which also contains a large portion of Morgan County, didn't see much growth, only increasing by 7,730 during the decade to 57,345 in 2010. His district will shrink slightly.

The number of Georgia House districts, 180, and senate districts, 56, is unlikely to change because those numbers are defined under the state's constitution. Because of the state's growth to 9.68 million, each House district will be redrawn to contain about 53,820 people.

The two remaining House districts, 95 and 110, divide western Newton County between them. Despite being smaller, this portion of Newton contains the majority of the county's residents.

Rep. Pam Dickerson (D-Conyers) is the representative of District 95, which contains northwestern Newton and portions of Rockdale and Gwinnett counties. Her district will shrink considerably, because it grew by 20,124 people during the decade, to 71,086.

Rep. Andy Welch (R-Locust Grove) is the representative of District 110, which contains southwestern Newton and much of Butts County and a portion of Henry County.

Welch's district was the fifth-fastest-growing House district in Georgia, increasing by 76.67 percent to 80,088 residents. His district will also shrink.

"They're going to have to split it up, the same with Andy's district," Dickerson said Friday. "We're not quite sure how they're going to draw the lines."

Districts shrinking will benefit Newton County because each representative will be able to focus more exclusively on Newton's issues.

Given Newton's population of nearly 100,000, the county could be divided between two representatives, but that may not happen, given the various requirements for districts, including protecting incumbents and not harming the voting strength of minority voters.

Regarding the Ga. Senate, Newton County is in District 17, which also contains large portion of Henry and Walton counties. District 17 grew by 43,427 people to 238,272.

Each Senate seat will have to contain around 173,000 people, so Newton will not get its own senator anytime soon.

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