The Kankakee County Board approved a new redistricting map for its 28 districts at Tuesday’s board meeting in the county administration building.
With the new boundaries drawn for the districts and the map approved, four current board members will now be in two of the new districts. Tinker Parker, who represents District 5, and Janis Peters, who now represents District 8, will both be in District 5 for next year’s primary election.
“We will both be incumbents running against each other, which will be interesting,” Parker said. “I know I’m running for sure. I love my service. I’m going to run for another term, which will be my last.”
District 5 runs from St. Anne north to the Will County line and east of Bradley and the adjacent District 8 which runs north of Bradley up to near Manteno and east of Bourbonnais.
Also, Robert Ellington-Snipes, who represents District 18, and Kimberly Hudson, who represents District 15, will both be in District 15 next year. Both districts lie within the city of Kankakee.
Snipes has said that he will be running for state representative next year and will not seek re-election to his county board seat.
The board had originally redrawn the district map in June, but the redistricting committee had to redo it once census data was released in August.
“We had significant changes in the City of Kankakee because of the census, and in the northern part of the county,” Board Chairman Andy Wheeler said during the redistricting committee meeting in September. “This is straight data from the census.”
The redistricting committee was tasked with keeping each of the 28 districts balanced by population. The committee met on Sept. 15 do redraw the maps that the board approved on Tuesday.
“We wanted to keep the same map [from June], but also allow for the changes that were thrust upon us by the census,” Wheeler said.
The recent census data showed a loss of 3,000 residents in Kankakee, which could’ve lost a district within the county board, but the committee wanted to maintain its current balance of demographics.
“We saw substantial decreases, and it had a powerful impact on the map that we had drawn in terms of population growth in areas,” Wheeler said. “What we didn’t expect was the amount of population loss in the City of Kankakee. We expected there was going to be some loss but not the numbers that we did.”
Both Parker and Peters are Republicans and Snipes and Hudson are Democrats. Wheeler said there was no gerrymandering in redrawing the map.
“It’s not voters, it’s people who live in that area,” he said.