McDonnell announces details of advisory redistricting commission

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Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday named 11 members to his Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting.

The commission, which McDonnell created through an executive order, will create lines for the Virginia House of Delegates, Senate and congressional districts. The commission’s proposals will be sent to the General Assembly.

“As Virginia redraws its legislative districts later this year, the process should take place in a manner that is fair and open,” McDonnell said in a statement.  “Legislative districts should be drawn in a way that reflects commonsense geographic boundaries and communities of interests as required by law.” 

The commission will contain 11 members, including an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, an independent chairman and two former judges.  The judges include the Hon. Sam Johnston, former judge of the 24th Judicial Circuit, who was initially elected by a Democratic-led legislature in 1977, and the Hon. Walt Kelley, a former judge at the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, who was appointed by President George W. Bush.

Bob Holsworth, a state politics commentator and former Virginia Commonwealth University professor, will chair the commission.

Virginia Business took an in-depth look at the redistricting process in Virginia in its January cover story.

The commission will serve an advisory role, while official decisions on the lines will lie with the General Assembly with veto power by McDonnell.

The Virginia Senate passed unanimously last year a bill that would have put the redistricting process into the hands of an independent commission, but it was struck down in a House of Delegates subcommittee. 
The members of McDonnell’s commission include:
•        Bob Holsworth, former professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, managing Partner of DecideSmart, and founder of the non-partisan website,
•        Gary Baise, principal, Olsson Frank Weeda
•        Viola Baskerville, former Virginia House of Delegates member and former Virginia secretary of administration
•        Barry DuVal, president, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, former Virginia secretary of commerce and trade
•        Jim Dyke, partner, McGuireWoods, former secretary of education and former chair of Greater Washington Board of Trade
•        Jean Jensen, former secretary, Virginia State Board of Elections, former executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia
•        Hon. Sam Johnston, former judge, 24th Judicial Circuit
•        Hon. Walt Kelley, former judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
•        Sean O’Brien, executive director, Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier
•        Cameron Quinn, former secretary, Virginia State Board of Elections
•        Ashley Taylor, partner, Troutman Sanders, former commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Advisers include Judy Ford Wason and Quentin Kidd of Christopher Newport University and Charles Dunn of Regent University.

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