Vic Williams: Redistricting Commission Is Not Independent

By State Representative Vic Williams

As a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, I would like to express my thoughts on the Independent Redistricting Commission. For those who do not know, Prop 106 was a voter approved ballot initiative that was passed in 1998 putting the redistricting authority into the hands of an independent commission. The heart of the initiative was to create an independent body that would act in a non-partisan nature.

Ten years ago the IRC, with then chairman Steve Lynn, was successful in achieving these goals. They were able to draw maps that adequately reflected voter populations, communities of interest and remained consistence with the federal voters rights act. In essence it created an equal playing field for both Republicans and Democrats in Arizona in relationship to voter registration and demographic numbers.

However, it is now clear at this moment the current IRC is unbalanced and is not acting in an independent method with Colleen Mathis at the helm. Most do not know this, but Colleen Mathis’ husband served as the treasurer for my Democrat opponent in the 2010 election cycle, unquestionably the most far left-wing ideolog who served in the Arizona House of Representatives. Their unsuccessful campaign was one of the dirtiest in recent southern Arizona history. Colleen Mathis failed to mention this in her application to the IRC. That fact alone makes it all but impossible for Colleen Mathis to be impartial and to be able to act in an independent manner.

For me, as an Arizona State Representative from Northwest Pima County it is not a matter of eliminating the IRC, but how we fix it so it functions as it did 10 years ago under Steve Lynn. The IRC has performed at a high level of efficiency and integrity in the past and it can again if we take steps to fix it. If Governor Brewer calls the legislature into special session next week I would be willing to vote for reforms to the current independent system. It is clear that Colleen Mathis is unable to conduct herself in a non-partisan and independent manner. Mathis must go!

As well, in order for the integrity of the IRC to be re-established other reforms must be taken. The voters of Arizona should consider accepting a more thorough vetting process to ensure that people like Mathis who have a political agenda do not get put on the commission. There should be mechanisms in place to remove members who lie or mislead in the application process. We should consider expanding the board beyond its current level of 5 members, which will not allow so much power to be controlled by so few.

It is important that we honor the will of the voters and ensure that they get what they bargained for: a truly independent redistricting commission that does not serve the interest of ether the Republicans or the Democrats, but that of the interest of the people of Arizona.

Rep. Vic Williams serves the communities of Marana, Oro Valley, Saddlebrooke, Flowing Wells, the Catalina Foothills, Casa Adobes, unincorporated N/W Pima County and Tucson. You can contact Representative Williams at vwilliams@azleg.gov or 602-926-5839.


Comments

  1. I would agree entirely on reform of the panel.

    However, when the writer states “Most do not know this, but Colleen Mathis’ husband served as the treasurer for my Democrat opponent in the 2010 election cycle, unquestionably the most far left-wing ideolog who served in the Arizona House of Representatives.” I have to wonder why is this now being brought up? Why don’t “most” know this? Why is it now time to reveal this?
    There was more than ample time during the selection process.

    And, in line with that, why is it that we care about a spouse’s political views? History is replete with couples holding completely different political views and there’s plenty of examples available for us today. Herman Cain made the GOP Flavor of the Week recently yet I didn’t hear any concerns over his Democrat wife.

    And, finally, what is it with what appears to be a complete lack of understanding amongst many Arizona GOP’ers with the meaning of the word “draft”?

    • Conservative American says

      Awwww! So very cutesy and erudite! I bet you’re EVER so pleased with yourself, LOL!

      Rob wrote: “I have to wonder why is this now being brought up? There was more than ample time during the selection process.”

      Well, Rob, if you actually read and comprehended the entire article, you wouldn’t be wondering why!

      “Colleen Mathis failed to mention this in her application to the IRC.” Duh! She chose to leave that off of her application! Duh!

      And did you fail to read this? “The voters of Arizona should consider accepting a more thorough vetting process to ensure that people like Mathis who have a political agenda do not get put on the commission.”

      Rob wrote: “And, in line with that, why is it that we care about a spouse’s political views?”

      Hey, REALLY great euphemism there, Rob; “political views”! Let’s see how you are defining “political views”, shall we?

      “…Colleen Mathis’ husband served as the treasurer for my Democrat opponent in the 2010 election cycle…” That’s not a “political view”, that is political ACTION having to do with funds for a Democrat candidate! Duh!

      Rob wrote: “Herman Cain made the GOP Flavor of the Week recently yet I didn’t hear any concerns over his Democrat wife.”

      And that is relevant to the Arizona IRC and Mathis how???

      Rob wrote: “And, finally, what is it with what appears to be a complete lack of understanding amongst many Arizona GOP’ers with the meaning of the word “draft”?”

      And a “final” map is what before it becomes final? Can you say, “a draft map”, Rob?

      You’re whining about the history of Mathis’ husband not having been brought up earlier BUT when we want to address the map while it is still a “draft”, you complain that we are dealing with it TOO early! You liberals would complain of you were hung with a brand new rope, LOL!

      • I did read it CA.
        Your reply continues with the authors line of logic.
        Can’t say I’m surprised.
        Though the logic and leaps being taken on this are pretty far out there.

        Let’s say your kids in school and has a paper to write.
        He puts a rough draft together as is normal.
        The teacher gets ahold of it and fails him on the spot.

        But wait…it’s a rough draft, it’s not the final, he’s going to make changes.
        Nope, sorry Son…a final paper is what before it becomes final? Can you say “draft” son?
        Yep, you deserve to be failed.

        Accurate analogy?

  2. Conservative American says

    ROFL! What is it that you don’t understand about the fact that Mathis failed to include the information in her application?

    What is it that you don’t understand about the difference between “politcal views” and actively working as treasurer for the campaign of a Democrat candidate? Views are thoughts. Functioning as treasurer is a poltical action.

    No, let’s NOT say my kids in school have to write a paper. Don’t try to manipulate with the classic liberal hypotheticals. Let’s deal with the actual situation!

    First you complain that the Mathis situation should have been dealt with sooner. Now you’re telling us that the map situation should be dealt with later. Perhaps you should publish “Rob’s Dictum of Politically Correct Liberal Timing”.

    You don’t sit around waiting for a draft map to become a final map before addressing issues with it. When the map is final, it’s a done deal. The time to speak up is now, lest Rob say, “Why wasn’t that dealt with earlier in the process?”

    Have a great Thanksgiving, Rob. Watch out! The tryptophan in that turkey will make you sleepy and then I’ll have an advantage! 😉

    • LOL….Where did I complain ConAm? I didn’t. You did.

      I am saying to FOLLOW THE PROCESS, amigo. And if you’ll note, my very first line is “I agree with reform”. But it needs to be balanced and not “reform” as dictated by the GOP mental midgets playing lawmaker and Governor.

      The process dictated a fairly thorough vetting process. Plenty of people were removed by both sides for various and sundry reasons, to include items not included on their application packet. They had their opportunity to bring this issue up if they felt it was of such importance. Because their issue now is with her husband, it seems pretty obvious why it wasn’t brought up. Her husband wasn’t applying for the position.

      The process also dictates draft maps being created (please, please, please look up the meaning of the word draft), a lengthy series of open meeting wherein any and all are invited to give comment and opinion. The maps are reworked during the process and they are reworked at the end of the process. So, nobody is sitting around. Well except the GOP legislators and our Governor who feel they don’t need to follow the process but tell the citizens of the state that they know better than them.

      The analogy fits ConAm. I did consider not using an education related analogy it would be lost on many in this crowd. This portion of the map process has been around for some time and it’s worked. Now, suddenly, it’s not?

      But, hey, go ahead push for repeal of 106 and try to get it on a ballot.
      Just remember that D’s and I’s combined outnumber R’s in the state nearly 2:1.
      The I’s have been leaving both sides because of crap exactly like this.
      Don’t expect the majority of them to be in agreement with the R’s.

      • Conservative American says

        LOL! You didn’t complain?

        Rob wrote: “I have to wonder why is this now being brought up?”

        Rob wrote: “And, in line with that, why is it that we care about a spouse’s political views?”

        Rob wrote: “And, finally, what is it with what appears to be a complete lack of understanding amongst many Arizona GOP’ers with the meaning of the word “draft”?”

        That is “complaining”!

        Once agian, what precisely is it that you don’t understand about this:

        “Colleen Mathis failed to mention this in her application to the IRC.” Duh! That’s some REAL integrity, LOL!

        Rob wrote: “They had their opportunity to bring this issue up if they felt it was of such importance.”

        So let me get this straight. With Mathis, you’re telling us that they had their opportunity. With the map, you’re telling us to wait so that later you can again say, “They had their opportunity”! Gee, just a wee bit of incongruity there?

        Wait a minute, Rob. Let’s look at the process here. Maps were shreded. Maps were unilaterally changed. When the state Attorney General seeks to gather the facts about what went on, his investigation is stonewalled and the AIRC lawyers up. THAT is the process. So don’t talk to me about the process ON PAPER, let’s talk about the process which ACTUALLY HAPPENED!

    • And best wishes on a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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