Redistricting commission holds first meeting

Now that new census data for Virginia have been released, the process of redrawing the state’s political districts can begin in earnest.

The Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting is tasked with revising Virginia’s congressional and legislative districts by April 1. The commission, created by a Jan. 10 executive order issued by Gov. Bob McDonnell, held its first full meeting last week on the medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.

In his address to the group, McDonnell said the commission is “bipartisan by definition.” He stressed the importance of working across party lines.

The governor called the commission’s task both important and historic. Political boundaries have never been redrawn in Virginia by a politically divided General Assembly, he said. Currently, the House of Delegates is Republican-controlled, while the Senate has a Democratic majority.

The advisory panel will work independently and present its findings and recommendations by the April deadline. Legislators should not give input or direct the commission, McDonnell said.

The Virginia Constitution requires that congressional and state legislative district lines be redrawn every 10 years. The lines must reflect new population data collected in last year’s federal census.

Districts must be “contiguous and compact” and, according to the executive order, “drawn in a way that maximizes voter participation and awareness.” The order also recommends that lines “reflect commonsense geographic boundaries and strong communities of interest.”

The bipartisan commission is chaired by Bob Holsworth, founder of Virginia Tomorrow, a company that examines emerging trends in politics, society and business. Holsworth, a former political science professor and administrator at VCU, has served on several advisory groups for state government and the city of Richmond.

He said the redistricting commission will seek input from the public. Meetings will be held across the state in the coming months to ensure citizens have the opportunity to participate.
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FirstComp Insurance Company, Markel Corp. named top insurance carriers


Two Glen Allen-based insurance carriers have been named among the top such companies in the nation.

Markel Corp. and FirstComp Insurance Company (now owned by Markel) are among 38 carriers recognized on the Insurance Business America list of the top insurance carriers in the country. > Read more.

Walmart honors Citizen’s ‘Top Teachers’ during grand opening


The much-anticipated new Walmart Supercenter in Eastern Henrico opened to busy crowds last week, and company officials welcomed a special group of shoppers, too. > Read more.

‘It’s such a blessing’


On Independence Day, a Brazilian-born Henrico resident took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance on the steps of the Virginia Historical Society and felt peace finally settle around her.

Jeanette Hamlett’s journey to U.S. citizenship is a story of faith and love, which she told with her husband, John Hamlett, by her side. > Read more.

Preschoolers give pillows to families in need


A group of preschoolers from Chesterbrook Academy Preschool donated 56 pillows to local families in need at the Housing Families First shelter. The shelter is always in need of pillows and linens as, since families take the donated ones with them to their new homes.

Housing Families First provides shelter and support for homeless families and assist them in finding a permanent housing solution. The shelter serves people year-round, said Terri Iguina, operations and volunteer manager at Housing Families First. > Read more.

Dairy Queen’s Blizzard sales July 27 to benefit Children’s Hospital of Richmond


Dairy Queen’s 13th Annual Miracle Treat Day – Thursday, July 27 – will raise fund to benefit sick and injured children being treated at Children's Miracle Network hospitals throughout the United States. Locally, $1 or more from every Blizzard Treat sold at participating locations will be donated to the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Last year, the event raised more than $14,400 for the hospital. > Read more.

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July 2017
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Southern soul and rock group Ray Pittman Duo will perform from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Lilly Pad Café, 9680 Osborne Tnpk. in Varina. For details, call 507-1997. Full text

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