By Conrad Dudderar
Newly approved state legislative redistricting has dramatically changed the make-up of a Yukon-area House district.
The “new” Oklahoma House District 60 in Canadian County will include portions of Yukon, El Reno and Oklahoma City. Parts of the Yukon, Riverside, Piedmont, Mustang, El Reno, Darlington, and Banner school districts will be in HD-60.
Population totals 38,790 people.
“My district really ended up changing,” said District 60 State Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon.
House District 60 will now include more of the “outlying” Yukon area, including near Lake Overholser and Westbury.
“Originally, House District 60 included a portion of Yukon, all of El Reno, all of Union City, the small town of Lookeba-Sickles, all of Hinton, and all of Carnegie,” Rep. Baker said. “A lot of rural area, and a portion of Yukon, which is very suburban.”
New Oklahoma House and Senate districts for 2022-31 were approved after a mid-November special legislative session. The redistricting proposals passed both legislative chambers before Gov. Stitt signed them into law.
Redistricting committees in each legislative chamber considered final decennial U.S. Census data and input from 30 public town halls to produce the plan.
“Canadian County has been the fastest-growing county in the state for a while,” said Baker, serving her third, two-year term in the state House of Representatives. “We’ve had so much growth I was really able to ‘shrink down’ the square mileage of my district.”
HD-60 has gone from more than 700 square miles to 141 square miles.
“It’s much more condensed,” said Baker, who taught 20 years before being elected to state office in 2016.
The Oklahoma Constitution requires state legislative and congressional districts to be redrawn by the Legislature every 10 years.
Final U.S. Census data released in September found Oklahoma’s population grew by 5.5% to 3.96 million, with the greatest percentage of growth in urban areas.
Canadian County’s population has increased by 33.6% to 154,405 over the past decade, according to the 2020 Census.
DRIVING THE ‘NEW’ DISTRICT
Once the updated Oklahoma House district map was finalized, Rep. Baker and her husband headed out in their car to plot out the new HD-60 boundaries.
“I am amazed at all the new neighborhoods I’m picking up that I’ve never even heard of,” she said. “I am really getting a lot of new housing additions. Fifty percent of my constituency will be new.
“I definitely will be getting out to meet a lot of new people.”
Not only will District 60 cover more of the Yukon area it will include neighborhoods near the Kilpatrick Turnpike in Piedmont Schools.
Baker looks forward to serving her “new” district. She believes the changes will help her when deciding certain issues in the state House.
“Before I had such a large rural area but was also representing the suburb of Yukon,” she noted. “It’s now going to be pretty much a ‘suburban’ district, so it’s going to be easier for me on some of these votes.
“I’m ‘closer to home’ now and can really focus on what the suburban needs are.”
Previously, Rep. Baker would typically vote on the side of farmers and ranchers because they were the largest part of her constituency. Redistricting changes that.
Baker has lived nearly 40 years in Yukon, which will have the largest voting bloc among the three cities in HD-60. She plans to run for a fourth term in 2022; candidate filing is in April.
Baker chairs the House Common Education Committee. She is a member of the Appropriations and Budget, Business and Commerce and Common Education Appropriations committees.
The HD-60 legislator is well pleased to serve this part of Canadian County.
“This is such a fantastic place to live and we’re growing so fast,” Rep. Baker added. “People are excited to come and be part of this community. For me to represent that is fantastic. There’s nothing better than that.
“We’re obviously doing something right.”
HOUSE DISTRICTS 43, 41
Oklahoma House District 43 has much of “Yukon proper” inside the city limits along with land directly south of Interstate 40. This district is represented by Jay Steagall, R-Yukon.
District 43 has been slightly condensed after redistricting, also owing to this area’s population growth.
Population totals 39,100 people.
HD-43 represents Yukon and part of Oklahoma City, along with portions of the Yukon and Mustang school districts. Rep. Steagall is serving his second term.
Meanwhile, a relatively small section of House District 41 is in far north Yukon – around the Surrey Hills area. This district is represented by Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont, who’s also in her second term.
After redistricting, HD-41 will cover parts of Piedmont, Oklahoma City and Cashion in Canadian, Kingfisher, Logan, and Oklahoma counties.
Population totals 39,371 people.