House District Plan

If a Tennessee House of Representatives plan is approved, the city of Paris and Henry County will both be split into two different house districts —neither of them the one it currently occupies.

When the 112th Tennessee General Assembly reconvened on Tuesday, near the top of its agenda was to redraw state legislative and congressional maps.

Prompted by the arrival of new data from the 2020 U.S. Census, the once-a-decade task is expected to take two or three weeks, Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton said (see related story on Page 3).

While the final version of the redistricting map is expected to be released this morning by the House Redistricting Committee, the current version completed in mid-December (see above) shows the county being cut into two unequal pieces.

Currently, the 75th District includes all of Henry, Benton and Stewart counties. That district would cease to exist as it currently is, and the three counties would go to adjacent districts.

The 76th District, currently being represented by Tandy Darby, R-Greenfield, would encompass all of Weakley County, the northern portion of Carroll County and about three-quarters of Henry County, including its northern half and southwestern quarter.

Darby would lose a small portion of Obion County, but retain all of Weakley and the portion of Carroll County that he currently represents, as well as gaining the majority of Henry County.

The remaining southeastern portion of Henry County would become part of the 75th District, currently represented by Jay D. Reedy, R-Erin.

That district would also encompass Benton, Humphreys, Houston and Stewart counties. Reedy’s district currently includes Humphreys, Houston and a portion of Montgomery County.

Instead, he would gain Stewart County, while the portion of Montgomery County formerly part of the 74th would form a large portion of a new 75th District.

The current maps don’t show in detail where the dividing lines will fall in Paris, but 75th District Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, said the southeast portion will become part of the 74th District.

“It’s going to split the city is what I’ve been told,” Griffey said in a Tuesday phone interview from Nashville.

“Everybody is having their shift towards the east, and Nashville,” he said. “Even if we’d maintained our populations, it’s forcing the districts further east.”

Henry County saw a slight drop in its population numbers in the past 10 years.

Census workers recorded a population of 32,330 in 2010, and 32,199 in 2020 — a drop of only 0.41%.

Surrounding counties weren’t so fortunate. Weakley County saw a 6.05% drop, Benton fell 3.79%, while Stewart actually saw an increase of 2.5%.

Montgomery County, meanwhile, saw a huge leap of 27.7%.

“Montgomery has grown so much,” Griffey said. “They’ve got enough people and then some.”

Griffey said even without the redistricting, he knew that two 24th Judicial District Circuit Court seats would be up for elections this year and had planned to step down in order to run for one of those seats instead.

He was upbeat about the possible changes, pointing out that the changes would give the county more representation in Nashville.

“People may think it may be a bad idea to split the county up, but it might be a blessing rather than a curse,” he said. “I don’t necessarily look on this as a negative in Henry County. I look as it as a positive. We have the possibility of getting two strong voices for Henry County.”

The planned 76th District is expected to be comprised of 67,466 voters, while the 74th District will comprise 68,223.

The House Redistricting Committee is expected to convene at 10 a.m. today.

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