Steve Hale

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 21, 2012

Still here to serve, Hale says after redistricting

By Billy Davis

State Sen. Steve Hale said this week he will continue to represent Panola County through 2015 after new boundary lines have been approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

The federal agency announced last Friday it approved new lines for Mississippi’s 52 state senate districts, which include three new districts — 9, 11 and 14 — in Panola County.

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According to Hale, the Mississippi Constitution states that after apportionment lawmakers will continue to serve their districts until the next regular election.

“There’s no debate over when those changes take place,” said Hale, citing the state Constitution.

“I will continue to be your state senator, and I will continue to represent your interests through 2015,” Hale told The Panolian this week.   

Hale, a Democrat from Senatobia, currently represents District 10 after winning a hard-fought race in 2011 against Vann Branch, a Republican candidate.

District 10 currently covers Panola and Tate counties. Under the new plan, the boundary lines retreat north out of Panola and instead include most of Marshall County.

The Panolian reported in May that the Republican-led Mississippi State Senate was carving Panola County into three senate districts instead of one, with one Democrat and two Republicans taking in new territory.

The state senators are Senator Robert Jackson of Marks, Senator Grey Tollison of Oxford, and Senator Lydia Chassaniol of Montgomery County, which is three counties south of Panola.

Hale has said he gave senate leaders two proposed maps for new District 10 boundary lines, and both were rejected. The proposed maps kept Panola County in District 10, he said.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves told The Clarion-Ledger the redistricting plan received “overwhelming bipartisan support” in the Senate because it was “fair and representative of the entire state.”