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We're (In) #1! But What Will Chicago-Based Congressional District Mean For Mokena?

A legal challenge is brewing against the new congressional district maps Gov. Quinn approved on Friday.

Think of Mokena. Think of the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Englewood. What do they have in common?

If the new congressional map Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Friday morning has anything to say about it, one person will have to represent both areas' interests.

Under the new map, which the GOP has vowed to challenge in court, Mokena moves from the district of Tea Party darling Adam Kinzinger to Chicago Democratic stalwart Bobby Rush.

But can one man handle the varied interests from Elwood to Englewood? Or is this new map just a power play to push into GOP stronghold?

In a joint statement, Republican U.S. legislators from Illinois districts pledged to challenge the new map in court, and lambasted Quinn for signing a "flawed map" into law.

"Governor Quinn said that the way in which district lines are drawn contributes to the success of our democracy," the statement reads in part. "Yet the map he approved seeks to reverse the results of a democratic election. Governor Quinn advocated for a fair and open process. Instead, he has guaranteed an unfair and closed one."

Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki understands what Mokena faces. In the last reapportionment 10 years ago, a portion of his town moved under Rush. In the new plans, nearly all of Tinley would be under the 1st.

Zabrocki said Rush has been good for his suburban community, citing examples such as Rush helping secure money for a partial interchange at Ridgeland Avenue.

"He's been very responsive to us," Zabrocki said. "Any time we had to go to him he was there."

Other local mayors weren't as sure. Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin, whose town moved from the 13th to a split between the 1st and the 3rd, called it "ridiculous."

"Bobby Rush has the right intentions, but I think a district going from the South Side of Chicago out to roughly Crete is absolutely ridiculous," McLaughlin said.

Zabrocki, however, criticized the map itself, calling it "gerrymandering."

"It's extremely a political map," Zabrocki said.

Mokena Mayor Joe Werner could not immediately be reached Friday afternoon.

View an interactive Google Map of the proposed districts.

View an interactive Google Map of the current district.

john bruno June 24, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Mayor Zabrocki....that is what the map is....political....duh?
N Yan June 24, 2011 at 11:41 PM
What an absolute joke.
Paul Dailing June 25, 2011 at 12:26 AM
It's supposed to be based on population as determined by the 2010 Census, not political power bases. That's what Zabrocki meant. I probably should have been clearer.
Jay June 25, 2011 at 12:36 PM
Republicans don't complain when redistricting benefits them so they shouldn't waste tens of thousands of dollars to fight a losing fight over one seat held by an anti-government extremist.

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