The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) will have held its final draft map public meeting on Dec. 4, at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Tucson. Seven final decision-making meetings are scheduled to be held Dec. 6 – 22.
The AIRC has been working to redraw both the legislative districts (LD), which determine the districts for state lawmakers, and the congressional districts (CD), which determine the districts for U.S. congressmen, a process that takes place every ten years based on updated census information.
The first step, completed on Sept. 14, was to create a grid map of the state. The second phase was the drawing of draft maps, which was completed Oct. 28.
The draft CD map for Sonoita, Elgin and Patagonia showed little change from the current CD3. Designated as CD7, the district would encompass all of Santa Cruz County, along with parts of Pima, Pinal and Yuma Counties.
At the state level, however, the draft map differs greatly from the present district, where Santa Cruz County is all within LD2. In the draft map, the County would be split in two, with the northern and eastern portion of the county placed in LD19, which also includes the southeastern part of Pima County, and all of Cochise, Graham and Greenlee Counties.
Several residents submitted public comments to the Commission. Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce Bracker, who represents Sonoita, Elgin and Patagonia, commented, “When I addressed this commission at the meeting in Nogales, I emphasized that it was very important to keep Santa Cruz County whole … As a rural county, it is very important that our need as a community be important to our Congressional Representative. If you divide us you weaken that voice.”
Carolyn Schafer, of Patagonia, wrote, “I implore you not to divide Santa Cruz County into different legislative districts. All of Santa Cruz County is a community of interest with visible geographic features…In order to best protect this community of interest, it is critical that all of Santa Cruz County continue as one district rather than being divided in two and assigned to other districts.”
Linda and George Vensel, of Patagonia, however, expressed their wish to be included with Cochise County. “We would like to be included with the Sonoita, Elgin group and Cochise County in the redistricting maps. We are not represented politically as we currently are. We are conservative Republicans along with many in Patagonia, and hope to be removed from the current liberal district.”
The public can still comment on the redistricting maps by attending meetings in-person, or by submitting comments online by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the last public meeting on Dec. 22, the IRC will deliberate for seven days, before adopting the final redistricting maps.