SYRACUSE -- The proposed redistricting of legislative House seats has Mayor Jamie Nagle concerned her constituents will have little voice at the Legislature.
Nagle said her concern is that the map adopted Thursday by the redistricting committee, and now being considered by the Legislature, could potentially divide Syracuse, which has a population of 24,000 residents, into four House legislative districts.
The map plan is for Syracuse to be represented in the House by Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield; Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville; and Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton.
Nagle said there is the potential for a fourth House representative in city boundaries based on Syracuse's future growth westward.
Such a division, Nagle said, lends itself to her citizenry not receiving political representation because the voting districts within Syracuse may be "lumped in" with larger population segments from other cities.
"The focus is going to be on the larger entities," she said. "We need to keep communities of interest together."
The redistricting process began after the 2010 U.S. Census revealed Utah had enough residents to gain a fourth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Nagle said she made her frustrations known to the committee during the public hearings it hosted, as well as to Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton.
"Stevenson has been responsive to me," she said of the single Senate seat serving Syracuse.
"She's right in some ways," Stevenson said of Nagle's concern. But there are advantages to having more than one lawmaker lobbying for the city on the House side.
Besides, it may be too late in the redistricting process to make major changes to the map.
"Anything we do at this point is going to create a domino effect," Stevenson said.
Adding to her frustration, Nagle said, is while her city is proposed to be divided into four House districts, there are three lawmakers in Ogden living within seven miles of one another who will keep their seats as a result of the way the lines have been drawn.
"It just doesn't make any sense," Nagle said. "I think it is a shame."
Republicans are drawing up the map for every county, with the exception of Salt Lake County, where dialogue continues because of the number of Democrats there.
"But outside of Salt Lake County, there is nobody pushing back," Nagle said of what she perceives to be a flawed process.
That should concern Republicans and Democrats alike, she said.
"It makes people throw up their hands and say, 'Why do I even get involved?' "
However, the first-term mayor vows to remain steadfast in making certain her residents are represented at the state level.
"I need to speak out for the interests of the city," Nagle said, adding she will do it by working through the current system available to her.
"It is sad that politics becomes a game of what you can do versus what you should do," she said.
Democratic Party leaders across the state have also been critical of the redistricting map, accusing those in charge of drawing it up of trying to protect GOP incumbency.
Utah Republicans do not hold a patent when it comes to protecting incumbency through redistricting.
Nagle said there are areas in the country where Democrats redistrict the boundaries of elected leaders to serve to their advantage.