Gov. Creates Redistricting Advisory Panel

January 10, 2011

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed Executive Order #31 Monday creating the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting. In late December, the U.S. Census Bureau released statewide population data.

This commission will prepare for the final census data and information that is expected to be released in February. The commission fulfills a campaign promise by McDonnell to ensure bipartisan citizen involvement in the state legislative and Congressional district redistricting process.

It will create and review proposed redistricting plans for the Virginia House of Delegates, Senate of Virginia and Congressional districts. The commission will then recommend plans that meet the required criteria to the General Assembly.

Speaking about the commission, McDonnell remarks, “As Virginia redraws its legislative districts later this year, the process should take place in a manner that is fair and open. Legislative districts should be drawn in a way that reflects commonsense geographic boundaries and communities of interests as required by law. This Bipartisan Redistricting Commission will contribute to public involvement, openness, and fairness in the redistricting process.”

The commission will consist of 11 members, with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, two former judges, one former federal judge nominated by a Republican president and one former state judge initially elected by a Democratic-led legislature, and one independent Chairman. The members are drawn from business, former government service and academia.

The members of the Commission are:

- Chairman- Bob Holsworth, Managing Partner of DecideSmart and founder of the non-partisan website, VirginiaTomorrow

- Gary Baise, Principal, Olsson Frank Weeda

- The Honorable Viola Baskerville, Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates
       Former Virginia Secretary of Administration

- The Honorable Barry DuVal, President, Virginia Chamber of Commerce
       Former Mayor of Newport News
       Former Secretary of Commerce and Trade

- The Honorable Jim Dyke, Partner, McGuireWoods
       Former Secretary of Education
       Former Chair, Greater Washington Board of Trade

- Jean Jensen, Former Secretary, State Board of Elections
       Former Executive Director, Democratic Party of Virginia

- The Honorable Sam Johnston, Former Judge, 24th Judicial Circuit

- The Honorable Walt Kelley, Former Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

- Sean O’Brien, Executive Director, Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier

- Cameron Quinn, Former Secretary, State Board of Elections

- Ashley Taylor, Partner, Troutman Sanders
       Former Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

*The Commission’s work will also be supported by advisers Judy Ford Wason and Dr. Quentin Kidd of Christopher Newport University, and Dr. Charles Dunn of Regent University.

Remarking about the creation of the Commission, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling says, “I applaud Gov. McDonnell for keeping our campaign promise to pursue bipartisan redistricting in Virginia. The goal of the redistricting process should be to form legislative districts that are compact, contiguous and share a common interest.

"The creation of the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting will enable us to have at least one bipartisan perspective during the upcoming redistricting process to encourage that districts are drawn with the best interests of citizens in mind. I have long supported the effort to pursue bipartisan redistricting in Virginia and I hope that this will be just the first step in creating a permanent process to accomplish this goal.”

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli adds, “I agree with the Governor’s creation of a redistricting commission composed of citizen members who are not current or recent elected officials. This ensures a transparent process, open to the people, which will determine how best to draw legislative districts that strive to give voters fair representation by their elected officials. Providing additional citizen input to the General Assembly is a move in the right direction.”

Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder says, “The commission announced today is a great step towards ensuring a fair and open redistricting process. The Governor has appointed a diverse and distinguished group that I am certain will provide good advice and recommendations to our policymakers in the General Assembly.

"As a legislator and as Governor, I saw the good and bad parts of the redistricting process. Efforts to open up that process and allow for public input are a move in the right direction, and the Bipartisan Commission created by the Governor will improve the process to the benefit of the Commonwealth.”

Chairman of the Commission, Bob Holsworth, adds, “I am honored to chair the Governor’s Bipartisan Redistricting Commission. Encouraging more citizen involvement and input in the creation of our legislative and congressional districts is crucial to increasing participation in the electoral process. That is key to the future health and vibrancy of our democracy.”

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