Redistricting and the past


In response to "What redistricting could mean for Harvey County" (Newton Kansan, Oct. 8):


Gerrymander proposals are not new to Kansas. In October 2001, a Kansas House Redistricting Committee, charged with adjusting the boundaries of congressional districts to achieve equal population per district, proposed a plan that would have put North Newton into the big Republican first district of western Kansas. If that proposal had been adopted, Tim Hodge (D), resident of North Newton, would not likely have been elected in 2016 to the Kansas House of Representatives.


In the face of the proposed gerrymander of 2001, local community leaders in Newton, North Newton and Bethel college mounted a strong protest. Doug Anstaett, editor of the Newton Kansan, denounced the plan as a "blatant political move," and called for a veto by Governor Bill Graves. North Newton held several public meetings and invited legislators Garry Boston (from Newton) and Carl Krehbiel (from Moundridge) to hear their protests. Students at Bethel College sent some ninety letters to members of the redistricting committee. City administrators from Newton and North Newton travelled to Topeka to make the case for their mutual common interests and for the importance of staying in the same congressional district with Wichita to the south.


The protesters prevailed. In May 2002 the Redistricting Conference Committee agreed to a plan that kept Harvey County intact and in the 4th district. Portions of rural Greenwood County were put into the 1st district. Mike O’Neal, Republican chairman of the House Redistricting committee, publicly congratulated Krehbiel and Boston for their leadership in overturning the original proposal.


Now, almost a two decades later, it is not yet clear whether the Republicans will make another gerrymander attempt to divide Harvey County. If they do so, it will be up to us to mount another nonpartisan movement to respect the integrity of our community of interest.


— James C. Juhnke, North Newton


Preventing abortions


I am against abortion, but I do not condemn anyone who has had one or helped perform one. I do want to help prevent more abortions from happening.


I have heard it said that women should have the right to choose to control their bodies by having abortions. What is an abortion? An abortion is the killing of an unborn baby by starving, dismembering, or poisoning it. Many mothers suffer physical and/or mental complications from this act.


If you believe abortion is acceptable, I ask that you research how abortions are performed. Live Action has animated videos showing how abortions are performed and are narrated by a former abortion doctor who turned pro life.


If you are pregnant and need help, there are crisis pregnancy centers across the country. Seek the help, and you will find it.


Proverbs 31:8: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Defend the rights of all those who have nothing.


— Laura Buller, Council Grove