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Neb. redistricting part of urban growth

June 2, 2011 at 1:24 PM

LINCOLN, Neb., June 2 (UPI) -- A Nebraska redistricting is another case of rural influence loss in a nation that was mostly rural until about 90 years ago, political researchers say.

"It really is the next chapter in the long saga of the loss of rural political power in America," Tim Storey, a redistricting expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, told The New York Times.

A redistricting plan signed by Republican Gov. Dave Heineman last week moved a legislative district from a rural area to a small, densely populated urban area that's home to Omaha, Lincoln and Bellevue, Nebraska's three largest cities.

The shift will give Nebraska's most urbanized section a slim legislative majority for the first time.

"The days of rural senators relying on each other and not working with their friends from Omaha and Lincoln are gone," Legislature Speaker Mike Flood, who represents a mostly rural district, told the Times.

The United States was declared mostly urban in the 1920 census. Today, more than four in five Americans live in 366 metro areas, the 2010 census indicates.

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