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MN Lawmakers Pressed for Inclusive Redistricting

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Thursday, August 26, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota leaders are moving forward with redistricting now that new census numbers are in, and they're not just being asked to produce new political boundaries because it is required.

Advocates say underserved communities need adequate representation and a voice in the process.

Anjuli Cameron, research director for the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, said during a House Redistricting Committee hearing Wednesday, an approach which includes translated materials will help many of the voices they're advocating for feel included.

"A significant barrier that exists for our refugee-experienced communities remains language access," Cameron explained.

She noted the census identified more than 360,000 Minnesotans as members of the Asian-Pacific community.

The House committee is scheduled to hold listening sessions through September. Even though redistricting falls under the Legislature's control, new maps in Minnesota are often decided by the courts. That's expected again this time, with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans leading the Senate.

Cameron also urged those involved with redistricting to strongly consider communities of interest, and protect areas from being split up. She pointed out her group alone represents more than 40 distinct nationalities, and many additional subgroups within those nationalities.

"These distinctions between ethnicities are critical and should be understood when considering communities of interest within the API community," Cameron contended.

Those speaking on behalf of Latinos spoke about their population growth, and the desire to have districts that allow them to elect candidates that better reflect their communities.

Overall, the recent census found Minnesota's population grew by more than 7% over the past decade.


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