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.
Heinz is running for Congressional District 2 against Congresswoman Martha McSally who is infamous for dodging questions and debates. Bickel is running for Pima County Supervisor against incumbent Ally Miller, who refused to be interviewed by the Arizona Daily Star (and other media outlets) for their candidate series. For the LD9 seat, I am running against Tea Party candidate Ana Henderson who is hoping that $5500 worth of giant signs featuring her and her dog (but not her party affiliation or any detauls about her) will convince voters to back her.
If my website stats are any indication, voters want to know where candidates stand on the issues. Leading up to primary voting day on August 30, my website stats were booming, and the page visitors went to most often– after the home page– was the Issues tab. (Inquiring minds want to know.)
Unfortunately, Henderson didn’t answer AZCentral’s candidate questionnaire this summer, didn’t show up to the LD9 interview with the Arizona Daily Star a few weeks ago, and didn’t attend the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) candidate forum this past Sunday. More than 500 people — most representing local churches or charitable organizations like the Community Food Bank and Literacy Connects– attended the PCIC event hoping to hear multiple candidates speak about public education, hunger, and drugs.
October 6 UPDATE: Last night the University of Arizona pre-law fraternity hosted a candidate forum at the UA Law School. Democratic and Republican candidates from CD2, LD9. LD10 and LD2 participated. Unfortunately, again, McSally and Henderson were no-shows.