Explosive growth could mean new representation for DeSoto County - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Explosive growth could mean new representation for DeSoto County

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - Population growth in DeSoto County is raising questions about whether the county has ample representation in the Mississippi State House.

Busy streets and bumper to bumper traffic are sure signs of a population explosion.  The growth has all but insured DeSoto County will get additional governmental representation, but deciding how to divide the districts could be a difficult task.

State Representative Wanda Jennings, who has served the county for 12 years, says the more voices are heard, the better.

"What it says is how many people that we have having a voice in Jackson for DeSoto County," Jennings said Friday. "We are such a large population that the more voices we have, the louder we speak, and the more we are heard."

More than 47,000 people have moved to DeSoto County since 2000, for a total population of 160,000 people.  The new numbers should mean an additional two state representatives for the county and a possible state senate seat.  Jennings said she is ready to do battle for the new positions at the state capitol, but has one main consideration.

"I think its only fair that if you represent DeSoto County, you live in DeSoto County," she said.

The city of Southaven is also dealing with growing pains, as it quickly approaches 50,000 residents. The city recently held meetings to address the issue of redistricting. Mayor Greg Davis said what the state does in terms of that issue and future representation is vitally important for all residents of the county.

"I feel certain our delegation's districts will change dramatically because of the growth we've had in DeSoto County," he said.

As to the future and the possibility of a new Senate seat, Jennings' approach is to never say never, and to not close the door.  Jennings is one of only four Republicans who serve on the House Apportionment and Elections committee, versus 13 Democrats.

"My intention as of today is to run for the House of Representatives, because I love it so much and do it so well," she said.

The goal is to have new state legislative districts drawn and approved in time for the state elections in November of 2011.

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