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Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Idaho

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A citizens group contends Latah County and the tribe have similar interests and should be included in the same legislative district. The bipartisan Redistricting Commission held a hearing June 19 at Lewis-Clark State College. The six-person panel is meeting across the state this month to gauge sentiment on how to redraw political districts in line with the 2000 Census. "It is the intent of our plan that the tribes be included in a single district," said Shirley Ringo, a committee member and former Democratic state representative. "Their issues are unique and their representative should have a strong commitment to them." She further emphasized the strong relationship between the tribe and the University of Idaho. Betsy Thomas lives in Harvard and votes in District 7, which includes Clearwater and parts of Nez Perce, Lewis and Latah counties. She works in Moscow, in District 5. "I know what it's like to be part of a district that was cut out for population purposes," she said. "But I'm not aligned in interest because I can't even vote in the district where I work." Others voiced support for keeping large rural districts, pointing out that "The urban areas don't always think the way rural Idaho does