"That was the worse gerrymander in the history of West Virginia, in my opinion," Cooper said. "We're supposed to have compact districts. That means round as opposed to long."
Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, who represents the Eastern Panhandle, said after the meeting that people in his area don't feel they are represented by the current congressional district alignment.
He said there were a number of reasons. Among them are the various state boards and commissions, including the state Board of Education, that divvies up representation based on congressional district boundaries.
He said so far that has meant that Kanawha County gets more representation even though Berkeley and Jefferson have some of the largest school districts in the state.
Unger denied party politics were involved in the discussions. Some have suggested the Democrat-led Legislature is shuffling the districts in order to have Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., run against each other.
"This issue is not the person, because we've got Democrats and Republicans saying this," Unger said.
He said that one way or the other, the Kanawha Valley and the growing Eastern Panhandle would likely have to be put in different congressional districts. He compared the two population centers that bookend the 2nd District to two ends of a bar bell that have grown too heavy for the middle pole.
"What do we in the Eastern Panhandle have in common with Kanawha County, or vice versa?" he said.
Unger noticed that when he's in Charleston for the Legislature, the local TV cuts off the Eastern Panhandle during weather reports.
He put to rest rumors that he was considering a run for Congress. He filed pre-candidacy papers in 2008 but, he said, decided not to run after receiving the call to join the ministry.
Unger said he could be a pastor and member of a part-time legislature.
"I would not give that up to run for Congress," he said. "This is the best of both worlds."