Locals applaud final redistricting proposal

The final maps prepared by the Arizona Legislative Redistricting Commission drew praise from local leaders who said it will create new legislative and congressional districts that will better serve the interests of the Kingman area.

"From what I see, I am elated that they have placed us back into a (legislative) district that encompasses most of Mohave County," Kingman Mayor Les Byram said.

"We are also pleased that we are in a congressional district that takes in Mohave County and a portion of Maricopa County, which we have been in the past."

Byram and others responded to the final maps approved by the five-member panel Sunday.

The commission plans to submit the maps – updated every 10 years to reflect changes in population and demographics – to the U.S.

Justice Department Nov.

3, commission spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico said.

The Justice Department has two months to review the maps, she said.

She added that she believes the maps drawn up by the panel meet the conditions of Proposition 106, a statewide ballot measure that established the commission.

Those conditions require the newly drawn districts to comply with the federal voting rights act and be equal in population, compact and contiguous, Rezzonico said.

The commission redrew the 30 legislative districts and created two additional congressional districts, bringing the total number of congressional districts to eight.

The commission placed most of Mohave County in Legislative District B, which includes northern Coconino and La Paz counties.

Bullhead City, Kingman, Lake Havasu City and Page would be within the district.

Kingman currently is in Legislative District 2, which stretches from the Colorado River to the Hopi Reservation.

Lawmakers elected to District 2 are Sen.

John Verkamp, R-Flagstaff, and Reps.

Jim Sedillo, D-Flagstaff, and Tom O'Halleran, R-Oak Creek.

The proposed district has a population of 170,254 and 84,671 registered voters, Rezzonico said.

Republicans hold the majority, with 39,319 compared with 27,435 Democrats.

Kingman would be part of Congressional District 2, with 641,328 residents, according to the commission's actions.

The proposed district has 343,200 registered voters.

Like the legislative district, Republicans dominate registration: 170,276 for the GOP vs.

110,397 Democrats.

Kingman is now part of District 3, served by Rep.

Bob Stump, R-Tolleson.

Although the Republicans dominate both districts, Mohave County Democratic activist Matt Capalby said he is fairly pleased with the results.

He serves on the Mohave County Democratic Central Committee and ran unsuccessfully for a District 2 House seat in 2000.

"I definitely think as far as Mohave County is concerned it is in the best interest of our area in that regard," he said.

"I do have concerns about the vastness and the size of the congressional district."

Capalby said he is disappointed that Peach Springs would be part of Legislative District A instead of B.

"I think the Hualapai Tribe has more in common with the people on Mohave County than the tribes in the eastern part of the state," he said.

Hualapai Tribe Chairman Louise Benson could not be reached for comment.

Mohave County Supervisor Pete Byers and Kingman Councilman Tom Spear, both Republicans, said they are pleased with the outcome.

"I think that (the legislative district) is excellent," Byers said.

"The reason I think it is excellent is because we are not thrown in with the Navajo Nation and will give us a chance to elect legislators from our own area."

Spear agreed, saying, "And I think this gives us an opportunity to be represented by somebody local, rather than somebody from a larger city."