General Assembly Update (4/29/11)
After a series of stops and starts, the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate agreed on a redistricting plan for the 100 Delegate and 40 Senate districts of the Commonwealth. It passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers, 32-5 in the Senate and 63-7 in the House.
In early April, the House and Senate passed a bill that was subsequently vetoed by Governor McDonnell. The Governor’s veto was targeted primarily at the Senate districts, which, not unlike the House, were drawn to protect incumbents. Over the last week, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have worked on a compromise plan that would adjust the districts somewhat in order to obtain the Governor’s approval. The House plan has not changed much from its original proposal. The Congressional Plan is not yet complete, and we will need to return to Richmond to complete work on this on July 11.
What does this mean for you? For those in the 57th District, if you live in the Ivy, Jack Jouett, or a very small portion of the Free Bridge precincts, your representation will change beginning in 2012. Ivy and Jack Jouett will become part of the 25th District, now represented by Delegate Steve Landes, and part of Free Bridge will become a part of the 58th District, now represented by Delegate Bell. Cale, Woodbrook and a part of East Ivy precincts formerly represented by Delegate Bell in the 58th district will now be in the 57th, the district I represent. Delegate Bell also loses the Belfield precinct to Delegate Landes, and his district moves to the north and west by gaining a large portion of Rockingham County. The City of Charlottesville remains entirely in the 57th District. After these lines are complete, the 57th District will have approximately 80,000 people. Of all the districts representing portions of Albemarle, the 57th will have the largest percentage.
The Senate districts will change as well. If you live in the Agnor-Hurt, Branchlands, Dunlora, Free Bridge, Georgetown or Keswick precincts, your are now in the 17th Senate District, presently represented by Senator Edd Houck. The 25th Senate District, represented by Senator Creigh Deeds, will lose the previous precincts and gain precincts that were formerly in the 24th District, represented by Senator Emmet Hanger (Crozet, Free Union, and Brownsville). Voters in Jack Jouett, Stony Point, and Woodbrook will be split between the 25th and 17th districts. Click here for a map of the current and new House districts.
From the beginning, I have supported a non-partisan approach to redistricting, a position that was not embraced by the General Assembly as a whole. The approach that emerged was a partisan process that primarily benefits incumbents. I am honored to represent the 57th District in its various configurations. I will be sorry to lose my voters from Ivy and Jack Jouett, but am pleased to add Cale and Woodbrook, and I will always keep the entire region in mind when I cast my votes in Richmond.
Thank you for your input throughout the redistricting process and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.