Legislative leaders sound off on redistricting, competitiveness

The Arizona Democratic Party set the stage for the minority leaders’ comments as it unveiled emails and other public records showing that Sen. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, played an active role in rallying support for a GOP-friendly district that he would represent./PinalCentral

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Democratic legislative leaders presented a laundry list of grievances over Latino districts, competitiveness and a GOP lawmaker’s attempt to influence his Tucson-area legislative district, while House Speaker Rusty Bowers urged the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission to put less of a premium on competitive districts, as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle got an opportunity to address the state’s remapping panel in person.

The commission, which is nearing the end of a mandatory 30-day public comment period on its draft congressional and legislative maps, invited Bowers, House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding and Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios to share their thoughts at a special meeting on Thursday. The AIRC will hold several more public hearings before it begins the process of adjusting the lines boundaries that will form its final maps on Monday.

Democratic Party set the stage for the minority leaders’ comments as it unveiled emails and other public records showing that Sen. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, played an active role in rallying support for a GOP-friendly district that he would represent.

Bolding and Rios, both Phoenix Democrats, submitted a letter to the commission on Thursday detailing a well-established list of issues in which they allege that the AIRC has favored Republicans and disregarded the interests of minority groups.

Some of those issues go back to the hiring of an executive director who worked for a Republican member of the Phoenix City Council and who had a background in GOP politics, and the hiring of a mapping consultant that Democrats view as hostile to Latino interests. But the bulk of their concerns pertained to the commission’s actual work in drawing the maps, specifically regarding the legislative districts that Arizona will use for the next decade.

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