Arizona Republican Party Statement on Arizona Supreme Court Ruling Reinstating Chairman Mathis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 2011
CONTACT: communications@azgop.org

PHOENIX – The Arizona Republican Party released the following statement regarding Thursday’s Arizona Supreme Court Ruling reinstating Independent Chairman, Colleen Mathis to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The following quotes are attributable to Chairman Tom Morrissey:

“The Arizona Supreme Court sided against the people of Arizona by reinstating Colleen Mathis to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission late yesterday.

“It is both disappointing and disturbing that the State High Court would reinstate an individual who has demonstrated a number of actions that have adversely affected the integrity of our electoral redistricting process. From omissions on her application to open meeting violations, political collusion with Democrats and a blatant disregard for Arizona’s Constitution, Mathis has proven herself not to be trusted with Arizona’s redistricting process. Governor Jan Brewer realized this and the Arizona State Senate realized it but the Arizona Supreme Court erred by failing to recognize a seriously compromised process.

“The Arizona Republican Party will continue to stand by Governor Jan Brewer, Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin in the effort to correct this process as quickly as possible. The voters of Arizona deserve an open, transparent and law-abiding process that respects the rights and representation of all Arizona voters. It’s time for the law to prevail and not the leftist legal manipulation of our Constitution.”

# # #

Statement by Speaker Andy Tobin on Reinstatement of Colleen Mathis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18 2011

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX (Nov. 18, 2011) – Speaker Andy Tobin released the following statement today in response to the Arizona Supreme Court’s Reinstatement of the Independent Redistricting Commission chairwoman:

“I am extremely disappointed that the Court has chosen to reinstate a biased czar to the Independent Redistricting Commission. By placing Ms. Mathis back at the helm of the Commission, the Court has substituted its opinion for the voice of the people through those they have actually elected to represent them. The Court has removed the last remaining check and balance on an unelected and unaccountable body that has spent months blatantly and proudly violating open meeting laws, meeting in secret, ignoring voter mandates and placating the Democrat Party and the Obama administration. If this Commission is not put to a stop, the Court’s decision means more secrecy and more gerrymandering from a body that has shown a disdain for the Constitution. Moving forward, I am putting all options on the table in an effort to protect our state from being hijacked by a partisan ploy to demolish the democratic process.”

# # #

Arizona Supreme Court Reinstates Colleen Mathis as Chairman of Redistricting Commission

Early this evening, the Arizona Supreme Court issued a ruling reinstating the so-called ‘Independent’ Colleen Mathis to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

This is a victory for leftists and Strategic Telemetry who were attempting to manipulate the Arizona Constitution to gain political power by leveraging data to the left’s advantage.

Three members of the commission decided to disregard the mandates outlined in the Arizona Constitution and solely utilize the element of competitiveness to draft Arizona electoral boundaries.

The law states the following under Article 4, Part 2, Section 1:

(14) The independent redistricting commission shall establish congressional and legislative districts. The commencement of the mapping process for both the congressional and legislative districts shall be the creation of districts of equal population in a grid-like pattern across the state. Adjustments to the grid shall then be made as necessary to accommodate the goals as set forth below: 

A. Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution and the United States voting rights act; 

B. Congressional districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable, and state legislative districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable; 

C. Districts shall be geographically compact and contiguous to the extent practicable; 

D. District boundaries shall respect communities of interest to the extent practicable; 

E. To the extent practicable, district lines shall use visible geographic features, city, town and county boundaries, and undivided census tracts; 

F. To the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favored where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals.

The two Democrats and Independent member, Colleen Mathis, established “F” – the competitive provision – as the main criteria in drafting the maps.

This was a blatant redistribution of votes.

With Mathis now reinstated, the commission can move forward working to further divide and leverage minority power against the rest of the State of Arizona.

We would assume that Governor Brewer is furious over the court’s action (A statement was just released.)

This may also set the stage for a constitutional crisis.

This also should give the legislature further motive to move quickly to enter a special session with the exclusive objective of referring a repeal of the law that gave us the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

The Legislature has until November 30th to pass a referendum in order to place it on the ballot on the same day of the Presidential Preference Election on February 28th.

If you support repealing the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and restoring this authority to 90 elected accountable people instead of 5 un-elected un-accountable people, contact the Arizona Legislature and let them know.

Time is running out for the legislature to act.

Lets restore this important authority to those who will not manipulate the law using slick Democrat consulting firms.

Weekend Vids: Schapira vs. Kavanagh, Lewis vs. Pearce & Gullett vs. Stanton

Arizona Republican Party Statement on Removal of AIRC Commissioner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2011
CONTACT: communications@azgop.org

PHOENIX – The Arizona Republican Party issued the following statement regarding the removal of Arizona Independent Redistricting Commissioner, Colleen Mathis:

“Governor Jan Brewer and Republican members of the Arizona Legislature have our full faith and support in their recent action to immediately correct the gross misconduct that has occurred on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.  Governor Brewer exhibited extreme patience in allowing Commissioner Colleen Mathis more than enough time to perform her duties and abide by the Arizona Constitution. That time ran out yesterday when Ms. Mathis was removed from her position in accordance with the consitutionally-mandated direct oversight authorized to Governor Brewer. The Governor and Legislature had no other choice but to act swiftly to restore and preserve the integrity of the redistricting process.”

“Until yesterday’s action by the Governor and Legislature, communities across the state were in danger of losing democratic representation or even worse, being disenfranchised as a unique community. That political disaster appears to have been averted.”

“The Arizona Republican Party will stand firmly with Governor Brewer in her effort to correct this gross misconduct and to restore the confidence of all Arizonans in our constitutionally-required electoral process. We are especially grateful for her courage in placing the law above politics and partisanship.”

###

Senate Majority Leader Biggs on removal of IRC Chair Colleen Mathis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 4, 2011
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

Op-Ed by Senate Majority Leader, Andy Biggs

When the drafters of Proposition 106 took their idea to the ballot in 2000, they knew they had to address the possibility of the State needing to remove a Commission member. They wrote that a Commission member could be removed by the Governor, with the support of two-thirds of the State Senate, for acts considered “gross misconduct” or “substantial neglect of duty”

Thank goodness they included that in the proposition approved by Arizona voters. Because of that wording, and the overwhelming evidence that Chair Colleen Mathis committed “gross misconduct” and “substantial neglect of duty”, the Governor was able to remove Ms. Mathis before she could do any more damage to our state.

We have to get past the arguments of which party benefits by which map. That’s not what this is about. To make the decision to remove a member of the IRC, we must look at their actions in office. Take the partisan blinders off and look at how Ms. Mathis committed “substantial neglect of duty”.

  • She admitted meeting in violation of open-meeting laws in a pursuit “of consensus” on awarding the mapping consultant contract.
  • There is evidence that Ms. Mathis fudged the scoring on the mapping consultant in order that her preferred company was chosen. One political commentator indicated that her actions resembled bid rigging.
  • She failed to disclose on her application that her husband was the Treasurer of Democratic candidate for the Legislature Nancy Young-Wright.
  • Contrary to the Constitution she appointed two vice-chairmen instead of one.
  • Her presentation of a donut-hole map, and the instructions to the Commission was a violation of the Constitutional requirement that the maps work from a grid and make adjustments to that grid.
  • She privately created her own Congressional district map and forced a vote on that map on the same day it was introduced.

This list of her misconduct does not even include the pages of unconstitutional activities discovered during the course of the Joint Legislative hearings on the Independent Redistricting Commission.

We don’t even need to speculate on the partisan motivations behind all these actions. The actions themselves are more than enough to remove her.

Proposition 106 included very specific guidelines on the role of the Legislature in the redistricting process. This Legislature has followed those guidelines to the letter. Legislative leaders selected four of the five members. The Legislature reviewed the conduct and product of the Commission and made comments to the IRC. Members did this by convening a joint bipartisan commission, although Democrats shirked their duty by “boycotting” meetings. The State Senate has followed the requirement to review and confirm/refuse in the case of the Governor’s removal of a commissioner. Once the Senate received the Governor’s call of a special session and findings outlined in her removal letter to the former IRC Chair, the Senate had a duty to act.

As the weeks go on, many will discuss whether the IRC system is even the best way to draw Congressional and Legislative maps. But that is the system we are under right now, the Governor and Legislature worked in a Constitutional manner and removed a Commission member for a series of unconstitutional acts.

###

Senator Sylvia Allen on the Constitutional removal of Colleen Mathis

Senator Sylvia Allen

On Tuesday the Senate confirmed the Governor’s removal of the Independent Redistricting Commission Chair Colleen Mathis. This action should have been taken back in June, but it was taken now because the maps produced by the IRC under the direction of the Chair are unconstitutional in all six criteria that must be considered:

  • The U.S.Voting Rights Act
  • Equal Population
  • Geographical Compactness
  • Respect for Communities of Interest
  • Use of Visible Geographic features
  • Competitiveness

We believe that Ms. Mathis has presided over a dysfunctional process riddled with incompetence and that she has failed in her one, overriding goal: to produce constitutional maps.

The Chair prevented Republican Commission members from hiring their own counsel, and she engineered the awarding of a mapping consultant contract to a partisan firm that clearly was in over its head. The awarding of the contract to Strategic Telemetry was done under a cloud of open meeting violations and alleged bid-rigging. Those evaluations were then put through a paper shredder so that nothing can be verified.

She has refused to cooperate with the Attorney General’s open meeting law investigation of the IRC.

The IRC abandoned the use of grid maps, contrary to the Arizona Constitution.

Dramatic changes were made to the draft maps over the weekend of September 24, in private and without the full Commission. The following Monday, commissioners were asked to view and approve the entirely new maps.

After seven days of testimony in front of the Joint Legislative Committee on Redistricting, there is overwhelming evidence that the IRC has produced unconstitutional congressional and legislative draft maps. You can read the report here.

The law provides for the actions that the Governor and the Legislature took Tuesday. When Proposition 106 was passed by the people, provisions were included for removal of any Commissioner if they did not function properly and within the law.

I heard a consistent complaint over and over from many in my District who attended the IRC meeting. They felt strongly that the commissioners did not listen or care about the testimony given concerning their proposed maps. Early in the process, maps from my District had been drawn and submitted to the Commission. These maps had strong support of the vast majority of my District. These maps met the Constitutional criteria and would have kept eastern rural Arizonatogether. In my District alone, 15 cities and towns passed resolutions in support of our maps and against the IRC maps. The five eastern counties all testified that we would lose rural representation under the new maps and that the four new districts drawn out of the original District 5 did not meet the Constitutional criteria.

More than ten years ago, Prop 106 (the Creation of an Independent Redistricting Commission) was sold to the public by persuading them that it would be “independent” – that is, free from all partisanship. Please understand that NOTHING is ever free from politics or partisanship but if it is held accountable to the people through their vote and voice, then we have a better check on the process.

Before the IRC (Prop 106), the state Constitution put the responsibility for redistricting in the hands of the Legislature, approved by the Governor. This constitutional process held the Legislature/Governor accountable to the people who, through their vote and voice, could express their desires and concerns. Through this process, my 15 cities and towns and five counties’ resolutions would have had more of an impact on the Legislature than on an “independent” commission composed of people who feel no responsibility to or consequences from the voters.

By creating an “independent” commission that is totally unaccountable to the people, the people’s voice has been lost, and all that matters is the individual partisanship pressure the commissioners feel from special interests. We need to repeal the law that created the IRC and put this process back in the hands of the people, as it was originally constitutionally designed.

Democrat tells the truth about Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

Ain’t that the truth!

Governor Brewer Statement on Special Session and Removal of IRC Chairwoman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 1, 2011
CONTACT: Matthew Benson

Statement from Governor Jan Brewer
Special Session and Removal of IRC Chairwoman

Governor Jan Brewer released the following statement today as she invoked her Constitutional authority to remove a member of the Independent Redistricting Commission:

“The Arizona Constitution provides that the Governor has direct oversight of the Independent Redistricting Commission, as well as the ability to remove any member due to ‘substantial neglect of duty’ or ‘gross misconduct in office.’ I invoked that authority today with my decision to remove IRC Chairwoman Colleen Mathis, and I’ve called the Arizona Legislature into Special Session so that the State Senate may concur with this removal, in accordance with the Constitution.

“I recognize that my decision will not be popular in some quarters. I certainly did not reach it lightly. However, the conduct of the IRC – led by Chairwoman Mathis – has created a cloud of suspicion that will not lift. A flawed redistricting process has resulted in flawed district maps. As Chairwoman of this Commission, the buck stops with Ms. Mathis.

“Today’s action isn’t the easy thing, certainly. But I’m convinced it’s the right thing. I will not sit idly-by while Arizona’s congressional and legislative boundaries are drawn in a fashion that is anything but Constitutional and proper. Arizona voters must live with the new district maps for a decade.

“I urge the Senate to act quickly so that a newly-constituted Redistricting Commission may complete its duties in time.”

###

 

 

Democrats Have an Odd Way of “Boycotting” Committee Meetings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31, 2011
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

Democratic Leadership dismisses Committee, then obsesses with every move

(Phoenix, State Capitol) —-Democrats in the House and Senate have dismissed the Joint Legislative Committee on Redistricting as a “divisive partisan game”, but as Republican Committee members perform their Constitutional duty, the Democrats are the ones playing games.

The Joint Legislative Committee on Redistricting was formed under the Legislature’s comment authority in the Arizona Constitution. It is a bipartisan committee comprised of four Republicans and two Democrats. Just minutes before its first hearing on October 21, Democratic leadership announced it wouldn’t take part in the Committee. That “boycott” has taken a strange turn.

“Their chairs are empty, but they’re sure taking part,” says Senator Steve Pierce, a Republican from Prescott. “They are launching attacks on those testifying, they are going on Twitter to make accusations. They’re the partisan ones in this.”

In the six days of hearings, the Committee has listened to dozens of citizens who have been let down by the Independent Redistricting Commission. The Joint Committee will collect the information from these citizens and present a report to the IRC, as detailed in the Arizona Constitution.

###