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Dennis Ross glad he’s “still living in his district” after redistricting

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Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland said he can live with the new shape of his 15th Congressional District approved by the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday even though it cuts more of his home county out of his district.

Like many Florida members of Congress, Ross’ district boundaries changed when the court certified the redistricting of congressional territories.

He lost the cities of Bartow and Mulberry in Polk County from his district and Temple Terrace and Lutz in Hillsborough County.

The district now is expanded north to include a portion of Lake County.

Still, the boundaries aren’t as bad as some of the shapes of the 15th District initially proposed in the Florida Legislature by some members in his own party.

Forty-one percent of the old district, which Ross managed to live with and be re-elected in, was composed of Polk County and 59 percent in Hillsborough.

State Sen. Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican, apparently didn’t feel Hillsborough had enough of the 15th Congressional District. Lee denied that he was trying to create a winnable district for himself and said he supported Ross. But his proposal even cut Ross’ home on the south side of Lake Miriam Drive out of his own district.

The Lee proposal needless to say fell by the wayside.

“I am glad I am still living in my district,” Ross said with a laugh at the plan approved by the Supreme Court. “It may have a little more Democrats, but the changes aren’t that much. I just hate to lose the cities I have represented for almost five years.”

Former Ledger of Lakeland columnist Bill Rufty is Central Florida political correspondent for SaintPetersBlog and Florida Politics. Rufty had been with the Ledger from 1985-2015, where, as political editor, he covered a wide range of beats, including local and state politics, the Lakeland City Commission, and the Florida Legislature. Ledger editor Lenore Devore said about Rufty’s 30-year career: “[He is] a man full of knowledge, a polling expert and a war history buff … who has a steel trap in his brain, remembering details most of us have long since forgotten.”

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