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Committee selects eight citizen members for new redistricting commission

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 9:20 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia’s new redistricting commission is taking shape. Wednesday, a committee selected eight citizen members who will serve alongside state lawmakers.

“Both the quantity of the applications and the quality of the applicants have enabled us to consider people of the highest caliber for this commission,” said Judge Pamela Baskervill, as she opened the meeting.

More than 1,200 people applied. Legislative leaders narrowed the field to 64. The panel of five retired judges selected the final eight citizen members.

“A lot of talent, very impressive, it was a difficult decision to get to where we are,” said Judge William Andrews.

Their applications, statements of interest and letters of recommendation were important. So was the direction from the General Assembly to deliver diversity in race, gender and geography.

“I think we have, in my opinion, because I looked at it fairly carefully when I was reviewing these, a broad group of people from both urban areas, rural areas, suburban areas and all around the state,” said Judge Joanne Alper.

“This is a great adventure Virginia has started,” said another selection committee member, Judge Larry Kirksey. “And I’m curious and eager to see how it ends.”

The judges had a tough job meeting all the General Assembly’s requirements, but one of the early criticisms was the eight citizen members include just two women.

The citizen members include one person from Bristol, and another from South Boston, but none who live in the Roanoke-Lynchburg area.

The region will have two lawmakers on the commission: Lynchburg Senator Steve Newman and Pittsylvania County Delegate Les Adams.

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