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Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 01/10/2011

McDonnell creates bipartisan redistricting commission

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced Monday that he has created a bipartisan advisory commission on redistricting months before Virginia attempts to redraw its state legislative and congressional districts.

The commission will be comprised 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 an independent chairman.

McDonnell also has included the state's leading proponents of redistricting as he sought to make good on his campaign promise to support bipartisan redistricting during the gubernatorial campaign, breaking with Republicans in the House.

He failed to support any redistricting bills in the General Assembly last year. For at least the eighth year in a row, a GOP-controlled House of Delegates subcommittee killed a bill that would have changed the way the state establishes legislative and congressional boundaries.

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

"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 a statement. "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."

McDonnell's news release included complimentary statements from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and former governor L. Douglas Wilder (D).

"The commission announced today is a great step towards ensuring a fair and open redistricting process,'' Wilder said. "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."

Here is the full list of members:

-Chairman- Bob Holsworth, managing partner of DecideSmart and founder of the non-partisan Web site, VirginiaTomorrow.com
-Gary Baise, principal, Olsson Frank Weeda
-Viola Baskerville, former member, Virginia House of Delegates
former state Secretary of Administration
-Barry DuVal, president, Virginia Chamber of Commerce,
former mayor of Newport News,
former Secretary of Commerce and Trade
-Jim Dyke, partner, McGuireWoods,
former Virginia Secretary of Education,
former chairman, Greater Washington Board of Trade
-Jean Jensen, former secretary, State Board of Elections,
former executive director, Democratic Party of Virginia
-Sam Johnston, former judge, 24th Judicial Circuit
-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

By Anita Kumar  | January 10, 2011; 12:27 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Comments

I'm very thankful that Virginia doesn't have the awful, ugly gerrymandering that Maryland and various other states have. We have gerrymandering, but it's not egregious.

Posted by: Simon23p | January 11, 2011 5:11 AM | Report abuse

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