Thirteen people have applied to fill a vacant Democratic seat on the state’s five-person redistricting commission to replace a commissioner who suddenly resigned in May.
Sen. Steve Gallardo, an outspoken Hispanic advocate and Phoenix Democrat, said he wants the person who replaces José Herrera on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission to also be Hispanic.
“It’s a must,” he said.
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who will make the final selection, echoed Gallardo’s sentiment.
“It’s important to have minority representation on the commission. I’ve always felt that way,” Campbell said.
Campbell’s final selection will replace Herrera, who was the only Hispanic on the commission.
A commissioner is required to be a registered Arizona voter, have the same political affiliation for three or more years, and cannot have held or run for political office, worked for a political party or been a campaign committee officer or lobbyist.
In the case of Herrera’s replacement, the commissioner must be a Democrat and cannot come from Pima County.
Gallardo said he encouraged a number of Hispanic Arizonans that he believes have a good understanding of the minority communities in the state to apply.
That’s a more important attribute than technical mapping expertise, Gallardo contends.
“We want someone who understands the needs of our communities and our neighborhoods,” he said.
The commission submitted legislative and congressional maps to be used in Arizona from 2012 to 2020, and they were approved by the U.S. Department of Justice in the spring of 2012. But three pending lawsuits rooted in Republican dissatisfaction with the commission’s maps could result in a redrawing the state’s political boundaries.
“If there are going to be any modifications, we have to have minority representation at the table,” Gallardo said.
He said he hopes all three finalists selected by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will be Hispanic.
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will meet June 17 to interview the applicants, take public comment and select the three finalists. Those finalists will then be sent to Campbell, who will choose the replacement.
Redistricting Commission replacement applicants:
Lanette Campbell (Maricopa County)
Laura Casas (Maricopa County)
Wil Counts (Maricopa County)
Bernard J. Dougherty (Maricopa County)
Andrea M. Esquer (Maricopa County)
Lisette Flores (Maricopa County)
Cid R. Kallen (Yuma County)
Jo Ann L. Martinez (Maricopa County)
Jimmie D. Smith (Yuma County)
Joseph H. Thomas (Maricopa County)
Frank Vanderame (Maricopa County)
Ronald E. Warnicke (Maricopa County)
Joshua Zaragoza (Maricopa County)
All applications submitted