OLYMPIA - The deadline for Washington to redraw legislative district boundaries is rapidly approaching. Sen. Jim Honeyford yesterday said he believes the Gorton-Huff plan for redistricting is the best option for citizens of the 15th Legislative District.
"I have been in contact with representatives on the Washington State Redistricting Commission expressing my hopes for the future boundaries of the 15th District and what would best benefit its residents," said Honeyford (R-Sunnyside).
"I believe the plan presented by former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and former state Rep. Tom Huff - the Republican appointees to the commission - best addresses our needs, and I am happy to support the boundaries drawn in that map," Honeyford said.
The redistricting commissioners have condensed four proposed plans to two legislative maps, with the Republican appointees presenting one map and the Democrat appointees presenting another. The final agreed-upon plan must be completed by Jan. 1, 2012 as the new boundaries will be in effect for the 2012 general election.
Honeyford said he expressed concern to the commissioners after their initial four plans were released because some of them split the Yakima Valley into separate legislative districts. He believes the small communities in the heart of the valley have similar interests and needs, and should not lose the power of their united legislative voices in matters affecting all valley residents.
"The idea of keeping the Yakima Valley united in one legislative district is a good one that's now been proposed by commission members from both sides of the aisle," said Honeyford. "That makes me hopeful that in the end the commission will do the right thing for our district and adopt the boundaries proposed in the Gorton-Huff plan."
Honeyford encourages 15th District residents to contact the Redistricting Commission to voice their opinions on the two remaining plans. The next meeting of the Commission is at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov.8, in Olympia. Concerned residents may also offer input by writing, calling or emailing the Commission using this contact information that follows:
Washington State Redistricting Commission
1063 Capitol Way South, Suite 16
P.O. Box 40948
Olympia, WA 98504-0948
Phone: (360) 786-0770
Fax: (360) 586-0433