Lincoln County State Senate District

Lincoln County will be part of Kentucky Senate District 15 under the redistricting bill that was passed into law Friday. (Original image by the Legislative Research Commission / graphic representation by Ben Kleppinger / August 23, 2013)

STANFORD — Lincoln County will have a new state senator if the redistricting bill signed into law Friday is ruled constitutional by a three-judge panel.

Lincoln would be represented by Sen. Chris Girdler (R-Somerset) under the redistricting law. Lincoln has been represented by Sen. Jared Carpenter (R-Berea).

Girdler’s new district would consist of Boyle, Lincoln and Pulaski counties. He has been representing Pulaski, Casey, Adair and Russell counties.

Carpenter would drop Lincoln County from his district and add a southern chunk of Fayette County. He would continue to represent Madison and Rockcastle counties.

Girdler said Tuesday he is looking forward to representing Lincoln and Boyle counties.

“I’ve got a lot of friends up in that neck of the woods, and I have always thought very fondly of Lincoln County,” he said. “… As with anything, change can present challenges. I’ve got a lot of friends in the counties I’m losing, but it was a necessity given the population changes in the counties.”

Girdler, a Somerset native and lifelong resident, said he has “spent the majority of his time in the business world.” After working for five years in the houseboat industry, he went to work for U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as the congressman’s aide and district director.

Girdler, who is in his first year as a state senator, worked for Rogers until May — long enough to see Lincoln County be brought back into Rogers’ congressional district when federal redistricting passed.

Girdler has been working at Citizens National Bank in Somerset for three months.

House Bill 1 was passed by the state House and Senate in just five days, and Gov. Steve Beshear signed the bill into law on Friday afternoon.

If approved by the three federal judges overseeing the process, the law would end a two-year process of state redistricting, during which a previous bill was shot down for being unconstitutional in how it divvied up districts.

The bill received largely bipartisan support, passing the House 79-18 and the Senate 35-2.

Girdler said his biggest focuses as a state senator are on economic development and breaking down barriers between his constituents.

“One thing that I continue to strive for is trying to unite people. We sometimes allow artificial lines to divide us. We allow county lines on a map to divide us,” he said. “My biggest thing has been and will continue to be that we can accomplish so much more as a region than if we continue to allow the county lines to keep us apart.”

Carpenter said while he will miss having Lincoln County in his district, he feels that overall, the Senate redistricting was “excellent.”

“It was really bipartisan, and we kept it fair and balanced,” Carpenter said. “Unfortunately, I’m not sure the House was able to succeed in that area as well.”

Carpenter said he was displeased with how the House redistricting plan split his home county, Madison, into five different districts.

But what’s done is done, he added.

“There’s no sense of looking back now. Everybody needs to just look forward,” he said.