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.
On June 13, the Short Pump Rotary Club partnered with Schnabel Engineering for a day of volunteer work with Rebuilding Together Richmond. Team members (among them [from left] Chris Rufe, Melissa Abraham, Rick Naschold, and Micky Ogburn) completed a variety of repairs and home improvements ranging from painting and landscaping to cabinet installation and fence building.
“It was a privilege to be involved in this project," said club president Melissa Abraham. "The homeowner kept thanking the volunteers, but I think all of us would agree we are the ones who actually benefited. It was an opportunity to help a community member, fellowship with great people and improve our handyman skills." > Read more.
Dr. Even Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author who has been featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz, was in town last week to promote his June 27 talk, "Proof of Heaven," at Glen Allen High School.
Alexander (pictured, at right, while Unity of Bon Air church member Harry Simmons interviews him) has written about what he considers to be his journey through the afterlife.
Tickets to this month's event are $25 and will support the new Bon Secours Hospice House being built later this year. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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