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Legislators discuss redistricting maps
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Five of Newton County's state legislators, including new additions Rep. Steve Davis (R-McDonough) and Sen. Ronald Ramsey (D-Lithonia), introduced themselves and talked about the new redistricting maps Tuesday at the Covington Rotary Club.

The redistricting maps have been signed by Gov. Nathan Deal but must be approved by either the U.S. Justice Department or the federal courts.

Davis described himself using what he called the three "C's": Christian, common sense and conservative. He owns a real estate agency and his wife works for a real estate investment company, so work is slow for the family right now, Davis said.

Under the proposed maps, Davis takes over the southwest portion of the county, including the Oak Hill Community, the Downs voting precinct and half of the Livingston precinct. His portion is bounded by Ga. highways 212 and 162.

Ramsey, unlike some Democrats said he was satisfied with his new district, which extends from near the intersection of Columbia Drive and Interstate 20 in DeKalb County to the middle of Covington.

He addressed a Sunday report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that discussed state legislators with tax liens on their properties. Ramsey owns Kingdom Group, a Decatur child care business and academy run by his wife, Doris V. Carrington-Ramsey.

According to the AJC, Ramsey had $173,000 in federal tax liens filed on the center by the IRS from 2007-2010. In the story, Ramsey said the economy and lower enrollment had hurt the business.

During Tuesday's meeting, he said that he has an arrangement with the IRS to pay those due payroll taxes and noted that he has paid all of his state taxes.

"For the last 13 years that business has kept about 60 to 65 citizens employed and educated a lot of children who have now gone on and graduated from college," Ramsey told the Rotarians.

His Republican counterpart Sen. Rick Jeffares (R- Locust Grove) discussed how his district shrunk geographically and by 70,000 residents. Jeffares will no longer represent any of Walton or Spalding counties and also lost half of Newton County and a portion of Henry County.

He noted that he has close ties to Covington, having grown up in the Ola area along Newton County's southwestern border and having worked for the city of Covington during the 1990s.

Rep. Doug Holt (R-Social Circle) is the old hat in the Newton legislative delegation, and is the only legislator to live in Newton, having been here 16 years. He lost a portion of the Brewers voting precinct, as well as the Town and Cedar Shoals precincts, while gaining the Gum Creek precinct.

Rep. Pam Dickerson (D-Conyers) was one of the Democrats who was unhappy with the new maps, which she said previously overly concentrated like-minded voters and increased partisanship.

Her district moved almost entirely inside of Newton County, including much of the county's fastest growing western portion.

Rep. Andy Welch (R-Locust Grove) did not attend.