State Representative Explains Importance of Redistricting Process

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Representative Gary Hicks (R-Rogersville-District 9) explained the importance of redistricting to members of the Hawkins County Chamber of Commerce when he spoke at their May 26 meeting.

In August 2021, Hicks was named by House Speaker Cameron Sexton to serve on the state’s first bipartisan redistricting committee for the Tennessee House of Representatives. Hicks was appointed to serve as the coordinator for the Middle Tennessee Grand Division.

Redistricting occurs when district boundaries for elected officials are redrawn to adjust for population. This is done so that all state senate and house members represent approximately the same number of people.

According to 2020 Census numbers, Tennessee’s population increased by 9% in the past ten years, coming in at around 6.9 million people.  Based on these numbers, each representative serves approximately 69,806 Tennessee residents.

The redistricting stipulates that the population of a district may be 5% above or below 69,000.

Hicks explained that the house first looked at the State Constitution, Tennessee laws and statues, and the Voters Rights Act of 1965 when they began to work on the redrawing of districts. 

Hicks says that the populations across the state have shifted.

“If you’re living in the East, [the population] shifted to the West; if you live in the West, it shifted to the middle,” he stated. “Everything shifted.”

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According to Hicks, redistricting can be beneficial because counties can increase the number of elected officials who serve them. Redistricting also helps the state to better prepare for economic changes and allows them to better represent the entire population.

“I’m just gonna tell you there’s so much revenue right now in the state,” Hicks said. “But, you know, what’s that from? We know a lot of that is from the federal government, and we’ve seen windfalls like we will never see again. The growth is just crazy, and so what we have done, we said, ‘Look, we know this cannot last.’ I mean, we are going to recess; I’m not saying it’s going to be a recession; I’m just saying it’s going to recess. So we have tried to position ourselves to make sure that we’re ready in two years to see what it looks like.”

Population changes have caused Hawkins County to be split into two districts. Hicks will serve the southern half of the county and Scotty Campbell will serve the Allandale and Mount Carmel areas.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

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