The final push on Arizona’s redistricting maps is upon us. And for the most part, things are getting better. The maps are reflecting the community input that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission has received over the past three months, and that’s important. After all, this process only takes place every 10 years, so whatever maps are drawn will determine your district for the next decade.
On top of that, the maps are also close to fitting the criteria that the commission must follow in the Arizona Constitution. This is good. And this is the direction the maps should be headed.
So, naturally, the Democrats are trying everything they can to game the system. And this time they are doing it through a group called the Arizona Latino Coalition for Fair Redistricting.
At first glance, that name sounds harmless enough, right? Fair redistricting is certainly something we all want. But let’s take a quick look at some of the leaders and advisors that make up this group that’s so concerned with fairness:
- Martin Quezada, Democrat State Senator
- Pete Rios, retired Democrat State Senator and County Supervisor
- DJ Quinlan, past Chairman of the State Democrat Party
- Adelita Grijalva, Democrat County Supervisor and daughter of Democrat Congressman Raul Grijalva
- Mary Rose Wilcox, retired Democrat County Supervisor
- Steve Gallardo, Democrat County Supervisor
Did you notice a common theme? They’re all Democrats! How’s that for fairness?
DJ Quinlan, who worked closely with the commission’s Democratic members in 2011, appears to be giving strategic advice to the Latino Coalition while Steve Gallardo and Adelita Grijalva serve as the group’s statewide co-chairs. In addition, the group’s five regional co-chairs are…you guessed it…Democrats!
If the goal of the Latino Coalition were to represent the greater Latino community, you would think that this group would reach across the political and ideological spectrum. After all, last time we checked, not every Latino was a Democrat.
But that’s not the goal of the Latino Coalition. Instead, they are 100% focused on protecting their party’s interests, and in particular, that includes manipulating the redistricting maps.
Just look at what happened early on in the process. The Latino Coalition had initially advocated for creating an eighth legislative district with a population made up of mainly Hispanics. And yet they dropped the proposal—mostly because they feared that spreading Hispanic population centers among eight districts would have benefited conservative candidates.
And then there’s the group’s involvement in the Congressional district maps. Under the Voting Rights Act, these maps must have at least two majority Latino districts.
Some of the maps submitted to the commission were able to do this while splitting up some predominantly Hispanic population centers or aligning smaller Hispanic communities with areas that were in closer proximity and traditionally Republican.
But it didn’t take long before those maps were discarded. Why? Because the Democrats didn’t want to end up in a more competitive race.
As the redistricting commission heads into the final stretch of determining our state’s Congressional and Legislative maps for the next 10 years, they must put aside partisan politics. And they must not only keep in mind the interests all Latinos, but they must keep in mind what’s best for our entire state.
That’s the kind of fairness the people of Arizona deserve, and if the Latino Coalition were true to its name, that’s the kind of fairness they would be standing for.
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