For the past four months, the Independent Redistricting Commission has worked to balance the wants, needs and desires of the residents of Arizona. The problem is that Pinal County — Arizona’s fastest growing county — is being used as the bargaining chip to satisfy other constituencies.
There are maps being considered by the IRC that substantially segment Pinal County into two, three or four different congressional districts. This would be a great disservice to the residents of Pinal County, who should be partnered with their similar rural Arizona constituencies to create one Pinal-centric rural district.
Wedged between the juggernaut of Maricopa County and historic Pima County, Pinal County represents a true microcosm of Arizona. Pinal represents a booming growth pattern, enduring agriculture and cattle industries, a revitalized copper industry, a rich Native American presence and a burgeoning tourism climate.
Pinal County is the epicenter of Arizona’s growth and is literally at the forefront of the future of Arizona and the often-referenced Sun Corridor. There is a critical need for leadership and representation that can focus on our issues and those shared by our similar rural neighbors.
I respect the work of our congressional delegation, but the reality is that they often struggle to meet the needs of our less-populated, rural counties. Our delegates invariably come from a large population base within the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, often to the dismay and detriment of our less-populated rural areas.
Dividing Pinal County into two, three, or four congressional districts would make the metropolitan/rural representation divide even worse. Now, more than ever, Pinal County and rural Arizona need to have the ability to elect leaders who are wholly accountable to rural Arizona.
The IRC has the unique opportunity to keep our rural counties whole and honor the rural heritage of our state. I’m confident Maricopa and Pima counties will have leaders in Washington who are both attentive and accountable. I encourage the IRC to provide Pinal County and rural Arizona the same luxury.
Pinal County’s growth gained Arizona this new congressional seat and we deserve to have our own representation. Keep our rural counties whole and ensure we never forget those traits that make Arizona the treasure that it is.
— Bryan Martyn is the Pinal County supervisor for District 2.