The leaders of the House and Senate Republican caucuses tapped former members of the Washington state Legislature to represent the GOP on the commission that will draw congressional and legislative lines.
But the Senate appointee has a much-longer political resume than that. Former U.S. senator and former state attorney general Slade Gorton was appointed by Senate Republican Leader Mike Hewitt. House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt named former budget chairman Tom Huff to represent that caucus. Huff, of Gig Harbor, represented the 26th District from 1995 to 2001.
The two Republicans will join two men appointed last month by Democrats – former House Chief Clerk Dean Foster will represent House Democrats and Tim Ceis will represent Senate Democrats. Ceis is the onetime chief of staff to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. He is now a partner and founding member of Ceis Bayne East Strategic, a consulting firm. Foster, who also was Gov. Booth Gardner’s chief of staff, served on the redistricting commission in 2001.
These four will agree on a non-voting chairman and then use new Census numbers to divide the state into 49 legislative districts and 10 congressional districts. The later dividing act is made difficult by the fact that the state now has 10 districts rather than nine.
The state Legislature can then approve or reject the plan but it can’t change it. While it is sometimes referred to as a non-partisan commission, the appointees show that it is very partisan. The commission, approved by voters in 1983, is better described as bi-partisan because at least three commissioners at least one from each party must agree on a final plan.
Here’s the release announcing the GOP appointments: Read more »