As prescribed in the US Constitution, every 10 years the United States conducts a census and counts everyone in the country. After the census, there is a redistricting process in which the areas that have gained population can potentially gain seats in the US House of Representatives. Population shifts nationally and statewide dictate that new maps be drawn to update representation in government at multiple levels. Historically, redistricting has been conducted by the political party in power in each state. This has resulted in highly gerrymandered and oddly shaped districts that are designed to keep the party in power in power for another 10 years until after the next census. Allowing the political parties to draw lopsided maps – literally – is obviously not a fair to the people and leads to unrepresentative government.
In 2000, the voters of Arizona passed a Citizen’s Initiative that took the redistricting process out of the hands of the Republican-controlled Legislature and gave it to an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). By law, there are two Republican members, two Democratic members and one Independent member.
Arizona’s 2021 Independent Redistricting Commission has been working on new Congressional and Legislative maps for a few months now. Controversial draft maps (version 10) were passed by the commissioners on October 28, 2021.
The maps are not final, and many people in Pima County, myself included, are not happy with the Pima County’s gerrymandered districts. Tucson proper is split into four different districts, ignoring natural boundaries like Interstate 10 and multiple mountain ranges and putting urban areas in districts that are heavily rural.
This is where you come in. The draft maps have entered a 30-day comment period. There will be opportunities to comment on the maps in person at meetings throughout the state. In addition, you can comment online at the IRC’s website anytime. There is a virtual town hall on Saturday, November 6, 2021 to kick this off.
My podcast guests provide a wealth of background information on the independent redistricting process. You’ll find out more about the Independent Redistricting Commission, the map-making procedures, the controversies behind the draft maps, and next steps.
Republicans are trying to game the redistricting process by claiming more safe Republican districts that they are entitled to. We can’t let them do that. Republicans rule the state as if they had a mandate and a super majority—instead of a razor thin majority. They have no mandate. Arizona’s electorate is nearly evenly divided in thirds between Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Contrary to popular belief, Independents are all over the map politically. I have canvassed their doors.
Arizona is a multicultural, multiracial purple state. The people of Arizona deserve maps that reflect our population—not maps that are based upon the desires of the powerful.
Independent Redistricting Commission Links
View Draft maps here
View schedule for upcoming meetings here
View public comments here
Make a comment here
My guests today are Dr. Don Jorgensen and Brian Bickel, two men who have been closely following the Independent Redistricting Commission’s map making process.
Jorgensen is the founder of Jorgensen Healthcare Associates and owner of Arizona-based Human Factor Consulting. Don is an author, a global speaker and consultant in the areas of change leadership, strategic planning and team development. Don is a former Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, and a regular radio guest on state and national politics. Don and his wife Kathy have visited all 7 continents, and have worked on humanitarian projects around the globe, in countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.
Bickel is a life long Democrat, born and raised in Michigan and a graduate of the University of Arizona. He is a former Marine and retired Army Major with combat tours in Vietnam, Panama, Saudi Arabia and Bosnia. He is a retired healthcare executive, most recently the CEO of Southeast Arizona Medical Center in Douglas. He is currently the treasurer for the Pima County Democratic Party. His wife, Susan, is an Arizona native. They have one son and two grandsons who live in Amarillo, Texas.
My podcast is available in podcast format through several services like Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and get the podcast, along with my other updates.
Independent Redistricting Commission Draft Maps Ready for Comment – A View from the Left Side
Podcast Topic Time Stamps
PPH Commentary 0:43
Interview with Don Jorgensen and Brian Bickel 4:39
What Is the Redistricting Process? 5:27
Historical Look at IRC: 2000 and 2010 vs 2020 6:42
Ducey Had His Thumb on the Scale 7:43
IRC In-Person Meetings 9:49
Pima GOP Chair Says They Want Their own Legislative District 11:10
There Are Multiple Ways People Can Comment on Maps 12:57
The Mapping Process Explained 14:29
Controversial V8 Maps Skirted the Process 15:56
Gerrymandering Gives Republicans More Safe Districts 17:04
SALC Maps Popped Up at the Last Minute 21:51
Thoughts on the 2022 Election 24:16