A five-judge panel released new congressional and legislative boundaries for Minnesota today that carve West St. Paul into different state House and Senate districts for the next 10 years. The northern half of the city, with Emerson as the boundary (for the most part), will be in a legislative district with St. Paul and the southern half in a district with Inver Grove Heights starting with the 2022 election.
With no incumbents for the state House, this will mean new state representatives for the entire city. Further impacts on West St. Paul will be determined by the Charter Commission and the Dakota County Board of Commissioners, who both have to redraw boundaries to balance population in the coming months.
The New Map
The new legislative map divides West St. Paul along Emerson, with parts of Ward 1 near Thompson Park joining the southern half of the city.
The Star Tribune has a map where you can enter your address and see what district you’re in.
The northern half of the city will join House District 65B, which includes the West Side and downtown St. Paul. Senate District 65 includes more of St. Paul.
The southern half of the city will join House District 53A, which includes Inver Grove Heights, Lilydale, Sunfish Lake, and part of Mendota Heights. Senate District 53 includes South St. Paul, Grey Cloud Island Township, Newport, St. Paul Park, and parts of Cottage Grove.
State Legislature Impacts
Currently, all of West St. Paul is represented by Rick Hansen in the House and Matt Klein in the Senate. Going into the 2022 elections, West St. Paul will see new representatives in the House and a toss up in the Senate.
For the state House, with Hansen, who lives in South St. Paul, now in a different district and current 65B incumbent Carlos Mariani set to retire, it will be an open race for both state House seats. So far María Isa
and Maria Sarabia have has announced her campaign for 65B (Feb. 18, 2022 Update: Sarabia announced the new lines leave her outside 65B). It’s unclear who will run in 53A with the new boundaries and no incumbents. Feb. 19, 2022 Update: ISD 199 School Board Member Mary Frances Clardy just announced she’s running for the House 53A seat.
For the state Senate, Klein lives in the sole Mendota Heights precinct included in District 53, so he could continue to represent the southern half of West St. Paul in the Senate. No word yet on challengers. The northern half of West St. Paul has incumbent Senator Sandy Pappas who is expected to run again. Sheigh Freeberg and Zuki Ellis have also announced runs for District 65.
All of that could change with the new lines and some candidates may find themselves in new districts.
The Redistricting Process
Because the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Tim Walz couldn’t come to an agreement on new maps, the job fell to a five-judge panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court (which is the way it’s been done for decades).
Legislative redistricting happens every 10 years after the census to make sure districts have equal populations. It impacts the lines of congressional districts, as well as boundaries for state Senate and House districts. It can also impact county commissioner districts an even ward boundaries in West St. Paul.
Feb. 17, 2022 Update: Ward Changes
The West St. Paul Charter Commission meets on February 24 to consider ward and precinct changes in light of the new legislative maps. They have to adjust precincts to fit within legislative districts (which requires changes for Ward 1, Precinct 1) and also have to balance ward populations (Ward 2 has the most growth, so its size needs to shrink, while Ward 1 has the lowest population and its size will need to increase). They can take future population growth into account, but aren’t required to.
Two potential maps are proposed by city staff which change a few ward boundaries. Option 1 doesn’t consider future population growth and has the least change, pushing Ward 1 west across Robert Street. Option 2 does consider population growth, with Ward 1 pushing even farther west across Robert Street as well as Ward 3 pushing north from Kraft to Wentworth Avenue. Charlton and Robert Street have traditionally been the ward boundaries, at least in the northern section of the city. The Kraft to Wentworth shift for Ward 3 is at least a partial return to the 2010 map.
Feb. 25, 2022 Update: New Ward Maps
Charter Commission approved new ward boundaries that take into account expected population growth.
These kind of local stories happen thanks to our generous supporters. You can join them through Patreon starting at just $3 per month and support local news.