Former State Representative Tom Prezelski started a new righteous Facebook open group page today, Tucson Should be Represented By Tucsonans, and included an equally righteous comment by Prezelski on the latest maps issued by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission this week:
Udall, Kolbe, Grijalva, Giffords. We in Southern Arizona are proud of our history of electing distinguished national figures to Congress. We should be. Unfortunately, this could come to an end if the maps the independent redistricting commission released earlier this week become final.
The map moves the center of population of the proposed district in south-western Arizona (more or less the current CD8) from Tucson to the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. While the current representative, Congressman Grijalva of Tucson, will certainly retain his seat by virtue of his incumbency and high profile, his successor is likely to be from Phoenix. This is not acceptable, as the two communities are too different in terms of culture and outlook. Tucson can only be adequately represented by a Tucsonan.
This is being done as part of a wrong-headed attempt to create 3 districts along the international border, an effort which has created a proposed district which extends to Utah. Not only is this new district unwieldy, but the border communities of Cochise County would be represented by people elected by communities in Northern Arizona with whom they have little in common. This dilution of influence runs counter to the stated reasons for drawing such a district.
Clearly this map is poorly thought-out with respect to Southern Arizona. There are additional reasons why the map is problematic, including:
• It divides the various Yaqui communities in the Tucson area.
• It separates older, largely Mexican-American, Tucson neighborhoods which have long-standing historical ties.
• To create the appearance of 3 border districts, the remaining Tucson district is artificially extended to encompass sparsely populated areas to the south without regard to existing geography.
• It divides Tucson’s African-American community.
The Old Pueblo is currently represented by 2 of the most respected members of Congress, both of whom are Tucsonans. This tradition of leadership is unlikely to continue as Tucson loses representation under the proposed map.
The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission needs to hear from you. Write to them and tell them that Tucson needs and deserves to be represented by Tucsonans. This map needs to be revisited.
You can write to the commission right here.