NWCUA Eyes Newly-Proposed Washington Congressional Districts with Interest

As the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) prepares to interview at least two candidates next week for possible endorsement in Washington’s 1st Congressional District race (to replace Jay Inslee, who is running for governor), the organization’s legislative team is closely watching how the lines are being drawn.

“We had hoped to get a clear picture of where the 1st Congressional District lines would be drawn and where the new 10th Congressional District would be put, but it appears from the maps released yesterday we have a bit longer to wait,” Vice President of Legislative Affairs Mark Minickiello said.

Among the four draft proposals released yesterday (one for each of the redistricting commissioners), there was no clear consensus on where either the 1st or 10th Congressional Districts will end up.

1st Congressional District
Although none of the four congressional maps displace sitting incumbents, some congressional candidates’ plans could be affected by the commission’s final map. At least one of the candidates the NWCUA will be interviewing next week in the 1st Congressional District race, State Senator Steve Hobbs, could land in a district with an incumbent. Other proposals place him in a district without an incumbent.

Many of the candidates for the open congressional seats next year sent e-mails to their supporters after the maps were released withholding comment until the final lines are drawn.

10th Congressional District
With Washington gaining its 10th seat in the U.S. House of Representatives due to population growth, three different plans emerged.

Slade Gorton, appointed by state Senate Republicans, puts the new 10th along the state’s northern border and on both sides of the Cascade Mountains.

Tom Huff, representing state House Republicans, proposed putting the state’s new district in south King County as a majority-minority district.

Tim Ceis, appointed by the Senate Democrats, and Dean Foster, representing House Democrats, each locate the new district in the south Puget Sound area.

Majority-Minority District
Three of the commissioners (Republicans Slade Gorton and Tom Huff and Democrat Tim Ceis) proposed creating the state’s first-ever congressional district in which minorities make up a majority of the population. Their plans all put this “majority-minority” district in south King County.

Groups such as OneAmerica and United for Fair Representation turned out hundreds of immigrants and people of color to testify at the 18 redistricting hearings held around the state this summer, urging commissioners to create a majority-minority district. Supporters say a majority-minority district would give minority issues a higher profile in at least one of the state’s congressional districts.

What’s next?
Many states leave redistricting to the state legislature, but in Washington, the job is delegated to a bipartisan commission made up of two Democrats, two Republicans and one non-voting member.

Now that the four commissioners have each released their draft maps, they will begin negotiating with one another in pursuit of reaching an agreement on one congressional and one legislative map by Nov. 1.

The final redistricting plan must be approved by three of the four voting commissioners. If the designated commission is unable to settle on new districts, the state Supreme Court would have to draw the maps by March 1, 2012.

 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Director of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello , Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine , Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Posted in NWCUA.