Residents of areas divided between multiple legislators in Districts 3 and 6 pushed for unity as Washington begins the process of redrawing its political districts.
The second public comment meeting for the two legislative districts was held Monday night by the Washington State Redistricting Commission. Dozens of residents of legislative Districts 3 and 6 joined the Zoom panels to speak to the redistricting committee members about what they hoped to see from the process.
The boundaries created by the redistricting committee will determine the boundaries of the state’s 10 House of Representatives seats and 49 legislative districts. Redistricting efforts is intended to create similar-sized regions for Washington’s representatives while also splitting apart cities, counties and related communities as little as possible.
The majority of comments from the public Monday were about locations that had been divided between multiple legislative districts in District 6. Resident of Tacoma, Bremerton and the Yakima Nation asked for their communities to be brought into a single legislative district to give them more significant representation.
Within District 3, the largest adjustments will be made to balance the last decade’s growth in the small, densely-populated districts near Vancouver and Portland and the larger, rural districts. Legislative Districts 14, 19 and 20 likely will need to gain residents from the more populated districts they border to reach proper size.
Judy Weber, a retired psychologist and former Democratic precinct chair for Clark County, said that the northern section of the county should be redrawn into District 18 instead of being grouped in with Cowlitz County and the rest of District 20.
“Our interests and concerns align with Clark County residents, not those of the three counties to the north,” Weber said. “We are truly cut off politically.”
Many commenters also pushed for districts that would be more politically balanced and swing between electing Republicans and Democrats. The redistricting committee is made of two representatives appointed by the major political caucuses and led by a nonpartisan appointee.
The Census Bureau is set to release the detailed numbers needed to begin the official redistricting process by Aug. 16. In the meantime, interested people can use tools on the Washington redistricting website to create potential maps for districts with balanced populations.