Redistricting shuffles the deck

Burnsville legislators will seek re-election in new districts

by John Gessner

Thisweek Newspapers

State Rep. Pam Myhra of Burnsville caught a break last week.

The newly released map of redrawn legislative districts showed Myhra and another Republican member of the House of Representatives paired in the new District 56A.

But the other lawmaker — Rep. Mark Buesgens, who had recently moved from Jordan to Savage — quickly announced his retirement after 14 years in office.

That removed one obstacle from Myhra’s re-election plans. But like many Minnesota legislators, she’ll have to introduce herself to thousands of new voters before the election in November.

Both legislators who live in Burnsville, first-term Republicans elected in 2010, say the new districts in which they’ll seek re-election are a good fit for them.

Myhra, who now represents House District 40A, will lose much of her current Burnsville constituency while picking up all of Savage.

Sen. Dan Hall, who now represents Senate District 40, will be in the new District 56. Hall loses all of his south Bloomington constituency and two precincts in north Burnsville while picking up more of south Burnsville, all of Savage and northwestern Lakeville.

“I’m excited to get to know all of the folks in Lakeville and Savage and, of course, to continue to represent Burnsville to the best of my ability,” Hall said.

About half of his current constituents are now in Bloomington. Hall said the new constituencies in Savage and Lakeville “are probably more conservative than Bloomington was. In that respect, it will probably be better for me.”

Myhra has deep roots in Burnsville, where she’s lived a total of 33 years and graduated from high school in 1975.

If she’s re-elected, her Burnsville territory will be reduced to five voting precincts south of Highway 13, west of Interstate 35W and north of County Road 42.

Her Savage territory would expand from one precinct to the entire city.

“It’s a great city,” Myhra said. “There’s a lot of strong Republicans in the area. There’s a couple precincts that lean more Democrat. … It’s not that different, in comparison, from the city of Burnsville.”

Myhra noted that she attends church at Bethesda in Prior Lake, where she was director of the girls club for many years, and also has southwest-metro contacts through her past tenure as a Republican committeewoman for the 2nd Congressional District.

“I don’t really think of it as a totally new frontier,” she said of the new House district.

Fewer districts in Burnsville

Under the map in effect since 2002, Burnsville has three Senate districts — 40, 38 and 37 — and one House district in each.

The new map, drawn by a panel of judges, puts the city in part of two Senate districts, 56 and 51. Burnsville will be part of three House districts: 56A, 56B and 51A.

Northeast Burnsville will continue to share districts with Eagan, as it does under the current map.

Ted Daley of Eagan, a Republican elected in 2010, is the senator in District 38. Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire and former Sen. Jim Carlson, who was unseated by Daley in 2010 after serving since 2006, are seeking DFL endorsement for the seat.

Sandy Masin, an Eagan DFLer who represented House District 38A from 2006 to 2010 and was unseated by current Rep. Diane Anderson, R-Eagan, has announced her bid to challenge Anderson for the new District 51A seat.

Myhra and Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, now claim parts of what will become House District 56B, which includes southern Burnsville and an east-central portion of the city.

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, would represent the new district. She hasn’t announced her re-election plans.

Former Rep. Will Morgan, a Burnsville DFLer who represented District 40A from 2006 to 2010, has announced he will run in 56B.

John Gessner is at john.gessner@ecm-inc.com.