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Drawing a line through the lakes

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News Perham,Minnesota 56573
Perham Focus
Drawing a line through the lakes
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

In a sense, lakes country is breaking up.

New district lines drawn in the 2012 legislative map formula created quite a few changes for area residents who will have to get used to a new senator and representatives.


Under the new map, Perham and New York Mills will not share representatives in the House.

Perham falls into the 8A District, along with Fergus Falls. This area belongs to Rep. Bud Nornes, R- Fergus Falls, a longtime House member. New York Mills and Ottertail will be represented in District 8B - a district that, if not challenged, would be claim to Rep. Mary Franson, R - Alexandria. Rep. Mark Murdock, R-Ottertail, announced earlier this month he would not seek re-election.

Nornes, who has represented Fergus Falls and surrounding areas since 1996, said he's delighted with the opportunity to potentially stand up for Perham.

"It's been an area that, from the west side, I've admired because of all the things they've been able to do there," he said.

Nornes said he and his wife are no strangers to Perham, as he regularly visits his son, who has a home on Rush Lake.

"I feel like it's our second home," he said. "There are things about Perham that we really enjoy when it comes to eating and shopping."

When Nornes was elected in 1996, he represented Ottertail City.

Perham City Manager Kelcey Klemm said he looks forward to the opportunity to work with Nornes, if re-elected.

"We've worked with Nornes and have been in close contact with him," Klemm said. "As far as that goes, I think it's a good fit."

Being paired with Fergus Falls and a majority of Otter Tail County is also a bonus for Perham, Klemm said.

Rep. Mary Franson, who is currently in her first term, said she is planning to run again in 2012. Redistricting greatly impacted her constituent map, taking away much of Todd County and adding areas, including New York Mills and Ottertail. But Franson said she's excited by the change in territory.

"I can't wait to start door knocking," she said.

While Franson hasn't represented the area before, she said she's dealt with concerns arising from Ottertail residents.

"We need to remember that we represent all of Minnesota," she said. "Our votes affect people in different communities."

As for the long drive from Alexandria to New York Mills, Franson said it's no different than her current commute to Staples.

"There will be no difference in treatment," she said. "I believe that everyone's opinion matters. It doesn't matter where you live - I can travel."

New York Mills City Clerk Darla Berry said she had no comment on the new district lines and what it will mean for the city.

Senate District 8 will now include Alexandria - a move that prompted Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, to seek a seat in Congress, rather than challenge Sen. Bill Ingebrigsten of Alexandria. Hoffman said she was confident Ingebrigsten would represent the area well.

While Klemm said there is an obvious space gap between Perham and Alexandria, he expects Ingebrigsten to work to accommodate new boundaries.

"I haven't worked with him much, but I'm sure he'll adjust accordingly," Klemm said.

Klemm pointed to Ingebrigsten's reputation and leadership position with the Republican Party as a good sign for Perham.

The new district lines break up Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Perham and Wadena - meaning four different senators will represent areas at the Capitol.

Along with a new set of boundaries also comes a new name. Under the 2012 map, New York Mills and Perham are located within Senate District 10 and House District 10B.

District maps are created every year, following the U.S. Census.