SOUTH HOLLAND | Officials from Lansing and Crete pleaded with an Illinois House committee Tuesday to respect their municipal boundaries when drawing the new map of legislative districts.
They prefer their towns be included in their entirety in single legislative districts, instead of being split among several towns.
"From our standpoint, it creates too many legislators for us to have to deal with," Crete Village President Michael Einhorn said.
Lansing Trustee Mikal Stole said his village is split among three Illinois House members -- two of whom have districts that extend into Chicago. Stole told the committee during its hearing at South Suburban College he wants Lansing included in a single district entirely suburban in character.
"Our concerns are suburban in nature, and we don't want to have to compete with Chicago for the attention of our legislator," Stole said.
Stole gave as an example Lansing's official support for development of a Southeast Line Metra commuter train, which might someday compete with extension of the Chicago Transit Authority's red line train from 95th Street to 130th Street near the Hegewisch neighborhood.
Lan-Oak Park District Vice President Mike Gaffney said he thinks the current situation hurts Lansing.
"I think it has helped fracture our town," he said. "Many of our residents don't know who they're supposed to talk to."
The hearing was one of at least 15 being held across Illinois to get public input about political boundaries.
A map is likely to be approved by the Democrat-run General Assembly before it adjourns at the end of May.
Stole also said he would like it if legislators would consider pairing Lansing with other towns along the Illinois-Indiana border, saying they have special concerns to deal with.
Indiana "Gov. Daniels has been making his pitch to try to attract businesses to his state, and that directly impacts us," he said.
State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, said it might not be possible to address that issue because many communities are on state borders, and other concerns must be taken into account.
"There are a lot of issues at stake, and we need to be fair to everyone," he said.