The late U.S. Rep. Andy Jacobs Jr., saw his old congressional district absorbed after the 1980 census. Jacobs is shown here with President Johnson, and with U.S. Reps. Julia Carson, Pete Visclosky and Lee Hamilton.
The late U.S. Rep. Andy Jacobs Jr., saw his old congressional district absorbed after the 1980 census. Jacobs is shown here with President Johnson, and with U.S. Reps. Julia Carson, Pete Visclosky and Lee Hamilton.
INDIANAPOLIS – So what happens if and when Indiana loses another congressional seat? It is not impossible.  In fact, it’s probably going to happen, so get ready. That said, if I had a nickel for everybody who wants to talk to me about chessboarding out Indiana politics over the coming eight years, I’d be replacing some of my tired old campaign shoes with Louboutins. Well, maybe. I would at least flirt with some.      
        
Still, what people don’t seem to be considering yet is that Hoosier opportunities to serve in our U.S. Congress may very well be shrinking, and pretty soon as our population continues to decline relative to other states. It is not a stretch to consider that by 2022, Indiana could be sending one fewer congressional delegate to Washington.
    
Recent history tells a similar story, and it is worth refreshing our memory. Indiana’s 11th Congressional District was eliminated as a result of the 1980 census. It was last represented by Andy Jacobs Jr., who was redistricted into the 10th District. More recently, that district was eliminated when Indiana’s representation in the House of Representatives fell from 10 to nine after the 2000 Census.
Congresswoman Julia Carson, who formerly represented the 10th, was elected in 2002 to represent to the re-drawn Indiana’s 7th Congressional District. This district was configured to include the old 10th, plus some new territory outside of the old boundaries.
    
The old 7th District was then absorbed into a combination of Indiana’s 4th Congressional District and Indiana’s 8th Congressional District.
    
The Indiana Business Research Center reported last year that our Hoosier state has been adding only half as many new residents as it did during the prosperous 1990s.
    
Specifically, they cite that Indiana’s population increased by an average of 53,600 people a year during the 1990s, and 40,300 a year during the first decade of the 2000’s. So far this decade, Indiana has gained about 23,750 more residents a year.   That’s not much.
    
The top 20 growth states are likely to grow as much as 5 to 13 percent. Indiana will grow less than 3 percent if we luck into a little bit more wind at our back. Yes, we have gained, but not enough compared other growing states to ensure that we might prevent another loss in congressional representation.
     
Indiana may lose congressional influence in D.C., but what might this mean for the political landscape back at home? Will the maps draw blood in the remaining two, reliably Democrat seats, creating more or may we see a Republican streetfight someplace around the state?
    
As Miguel De Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote,” wrote in the 16th Century, “Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.”  It is worth thinking about.

Hale was the 2016 Democratic lieutenant governor nominee and President of Leadership Indianapolis.