I am asking for your help in retaining the seat in the legislature you elected me to. I am in jeopardy of losing the seat, not by election, but by a decision of the four person Redistricting Commission.
As you probably know, Washington State is currently going through a redistricting process, which happens every ten years after the U.S. census, in order to rebalance each district so they all have roughly equal populations. Because “Seattle districts” have lost population relative to Eastside and suburban districts, Seattle district boundaries must expand. The four-person Redistricting Commission is now considering redrawing the 11th District boundary to carve it’s Seattle piece out of the 11th. I will then no longer live within the 11th District, which means I cannot run for re-election to my current seat in the 11th. The most likely scenario the Commission will propose is that I will be placed into the 37th District, which already has two good incumbents in the House of Representatives. If that happens, I will then need to choose to run against one of those incumbents or cease to represent you in the House. One other bad alternative is for me to move to a new home within the new borders of the 11th to retain my eligibility to run in the 11th. I live on North Beacon Hill (in the home I grew up in) and have no intention of moving just to keep my residency within a newly configured 11th (some might view this as carpetbagging).
South Seattle currently has the benefit of being represented by both the 11th District (myself and Zack Hudgins), and the 37th District (Sharon Tomiko Santos, and Eric Pettigrew). We work well together to make sure our communities are well represented and we present a strong collective voice. Carving out the Seattle portion of the 11th District diminishes the current diversity of representation in the legislature, diminishes the current voice for communities of interest between the diverse areas now served by both the 11th and 37th, diminishes Seattle representation in the legislature, possibly pits communities against each other by forcing three sitting legislators to run for only two available seats, and overall diminishes the power our communities of interest have in the legislature.
We can still influence the Commission’s proposal. I would very much appreciate your doing one (or both) of two things:
- Attend the Special Redistricting Commission meeting being held at the New Holly Gathering Hall Aug. 9th (see meeting notice below) and let them know you think they should keep Seattle (Beacon Hill) in the 11th District
- Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for participating in this very important, but often overlooked, function of your government, i.e. redistricting, and please share this message with your community networks.
Other talking points:
Tweak the borders as necessary around the edges but keep the already established communities of interest intact
Don’t divide communities of interest any further than they already are
Don’t pit communities against each other: our sitting legislators work well together to represent our communities of interest
Do not marginalize communities of color by diminishing their numbers in the legislature. Draw boundaries to enhance the diversity in the legislature, not diminish.