McDonnell names redistricting panel

Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday signed an executive order creating the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting, though its powers are limited to a review and recommendation capacity.

“As Virginia redraws its legislative districts later this year, the process should take place in a manner that is fair and open,” McDonnell said in naming the bipartisan body today. “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 11-member commission features an equal number of Democrats and Republicans and also includes two former judges.

  • Chairman: Bob Holsworth, managing partner of DecideSmart and founder of the nonpartisan website, VirginiaTomorrow.com
  • 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 of the 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 of the 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 advisors Judy Ford Wason and Dr. Quentin Kidd of Christopher Newport University and Dr. Charles Dunn of Regent University.

“The Commission announced today is a great step towards ensuring a fair and open redistricting process,” former Virginia governor and former Richmond mayor Doug Wilder said. “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.”

Democratic Party of Virginia chairman Brian Moran said McDonnell “deserves credit” for appointing a truly bipartisan redistricting commission, but also said that it is “unfortunate” that the governor did not give the body more influence over the outcome of the redistricting process.

“Without that authority there does not seem to be much hope that Republican legislators will adopt the commission’s recommendations no matter how good they are,” Moran said.

“I appreciate the Governor’s interest in fulfilling a campaign promise, and I congratulate him on the quality of the commission’s membership. In the absence of a more powerful role for the commiss ion I hope he will do what it takes to ensure that their recommendations are reflected in the final outcome of the redistricting process,” Moran said.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.


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