Gulfport leaders finalize redistricting

Council members chose new ward boundaries from 8 different proposals.
Council members chose new ward boundaries from 8 different proposals.(WLOX)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 8:59 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Change is now set for Gulfport’s ward boundaries. On Tuesday the City Council finalized the redistricting process after receiving results from the 2020 census.

A large crowd at City Hall erupted into applause when the City Council unanimously approved the redistricting proposal. President of Gulfport’s branch of the NAACP Gary Fredericks played a role in drawing the map ultimately chosen by the council.

“The population continues to change in the demographics, and that’s not a bad thing; that’s a good thing,” Fredericks said.

According to Fredericks, the new boundaries will lead to better representation for all demographic groups across Gulfport.

“This is not anti-anything, but it’s also pro-voice, making sure the citizens of Gulfport have equal representation under the law,” Fredericks said.

The biggest adjustment in the boundary lines comes in the area around the interstate east of Highway 49.

“It’s a map that a certain part of a community that Ella’s ward and Truck Casey’s ward have both been looking for,” said Rusty Walker, Gulfport City Councilman. “It was nice that we were able to come to a compromise where they could work with their constituents and develop a map that the entire council could live with.”

The council considered eight proposals before compromising on a map Councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines said will more accurately reflect the makeup of her city.

“We realize that you can have three minority wards in a 72,000 population, and with that it shows progress, and we need to show progress for our cities that diversity is welcomed in Gulfport,” Holmes-Hines said.

The latest approved ward map will be in effect for at least the next ten years.

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