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Flag 40 Encouraging Redistricting Participation

Redistricting is the redrawing of legislative and congressional district lines following the decennial U.S. Census. The lines are redrawn so that districts are of very nearly equal population as required by the Arizona and United States Constitutions.

There are 435 members of congress whose districts are apportioned among the states by population.  Arizona currently has eight members of congress. Census data from 2010 tells us that America is growing in the South and West and shrinking in the Northeast and the Midwest.  Because of the growth in Arizona’s population, we will add an additional congressional district and increase our representation in Congress to nine members.  Each state also has two senators who represent the state at large.

The Arizona State Legislature is made up of 90 members who are elected to serve in one of 30 legislative districts.  Each district elects one official to the State Senate and two officials to the Arizona House of Representatives.

Does every state follow the same procedure to draw the lines?

No.  In 37 states, the state legislature has the power to draw the lines of state legislative districts.

In each of these states, the legislature also draws congressional district lines.  Thirteen states, including Arizona, have established nonpartisan or bipartisan commissions to take the lead in redistricting.

 

In November 2000, Arizona voters passed a citizen initiative that changed the redistricting process in Arizona.  Proposition 106 amended the Arizona Constitution to create a five-member commission, the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC), to redraw Congressional and Legislative district boundaries following the 2000 Census. Previously, the State Legislature was responsible for redrawing the lines.

 

Where are we in the process?

The Independent Redistricting Commission is taking public testimony and comment through a series of 15 hearings that are scheduled to be held statewide between Thursday, July 21st and Saturday, August 6thThe IRC will be in Flagstaff  on the Coconino Community College Lone Tree for a hearing  beginning at 6:00pm.

How can you help?

Flagstaff 40 and the business community needs to make sure that the Independent Redistricting Commission comes away from this first round of public hearings with a clear vision for the role Flagstaff plays as the economic engine for Northern Arizona.  We need you to e-mail and write the IRC to insure that your comments become part of the public record.  Some key points that outline Flagstaff’s need, and might personally resonate with you, are on the flip side.  Most importantly, we want to carry the message forward that:

A competitive state legislative district in Northern Arizona that includes the city of Flagstaff with other cities and municipalities with similar interests.

http://www.azredistricting.org/contact.asp

Fax:   (602) 542-5236

Write:   1100 W Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007

___________________    or ____________________  supports the creation of a

Your name                             your company

A competitive state legislative district in Northern Arizona that includes the city of Flagstaff with other cities and municipalities with similar interests.

Talking points for competitiveness:

 

The 2001 Independent Redistricting Commission drew only 3 out of 30 competitive districts in the legislature. The current IRC bears the responsibility to make Arizona elections a fairer process by creating more competitive districts.

 

Competitiveness will bring more citizens into the political process, and candidates will have to engage with a wider array of voters in order to get elected.  Both of these factors will lead to more constructive discussion to find good solutions for issues facing our state.

 

27 “safe” districts is not in the best interest for Arizona as a whole.

 

Flagstaff is the largest city in Northern Arizona, the seat of government for Coconino County, and the home of Northern Arizona University.  Flagstaff deserves a fair opportunity to elect a candidate of either party to represent its interests.

 

When a district is so lopsided in voter registration that all of its members of the legislature are of one party, the citizens of that district can be left with little effective voice when the other party controls the legislature.  This is the situation Flagstaff finds itself in at present.

 

If a district is overwhelmingly populated by members of one party, the election of legislators is determined in the primary.  Comparatively few votes are required to win a primary, allowing the opportunity for extreme elements of a party to carry the day.

Talking points for “Communities of Interest”

Northern Arizona communities such as Flagstaff and the Verde Valley area have much in common and should be placed in a common legislative district.

 

Economic Development                                 Tourism

Transportation                                                Water Management

Education                                                        Medical/Healthcare

Forest Restoration                                           Economic Base

 

Northern Arizona municipalities currently work together on common legislative issues such as:

 

The Greater Arizona Mayors Association

Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization

Northern Arizona Council of Governments

Water Management

 

These organized efforts should be recognized and considered when adopting a new Northern Arizona legislative district.

 

I-17 is a major corridor that connects Northern Arizona cities with the rest of the state.

 

Northern Arizona cities and towns all have populations under 100,000 and have very different issues/concerns than Maricopa and Pima County population centers.

 

The majority of forested lands lie in Northern Arizona which is of paramount concern for the communities of Flagstaff, White Mountains, and Yavapai county.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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