Panel redraws state legislative districts

Maps need tinkering; question is location of congressional district



photoA map released Friday shows proposed boundaries for Clark County legislative districts.


Orcutt faces choices

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, has known for months that he is likely to face three choices once the Redistricting Commission finishes his work: Run for Legislature in another district; move south into Clark County and continue to run in his 18th District; or give up his seat in Olympia.

As a new appointee to the Legislature in 2002, Orcutt moved from the Kelso area to Kalama as a result of redistricting. He has said he’ll wait and see the final map before making a decision about his political future.

OLYMPIA — The commission mapping new districts for state legislators and members of Congress made some progress Friday but has a lot more work to meet a Jan. 1 deadline to locate a new congressional district in Washington.

The state Redistricting Commission put out two new legislative maps — one for northern parts of Western Washington and one for Southwest Washington and the Olympic Peninsula, The Olympian reported.

Five incumbents would be displaced: Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia; Rep. Jim McCune, R-Graham; Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton; Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama; and Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest.

The maps need more tinkering before they are final. The big question to be answered before the end of the year is where the new 10th Congressional District will be located. Washington is gaining a seat in Congress due to population growth.

The commission hopes to complete new maps for 49 legislative districts and 10 congressional districts by Jan. 1.

The commission has agreed to meet next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The goal is to give county auditors and the public time to review and comment on the proposal over the Christmas holiday.

The commission was created by voters in 1983. Two Republicans and two Democrats were selected by the party caucuses in the state Legislature, and the commission has a nonvoting fifth member. The recommendations have to be supported by at least three of the four voting members.

The commission includes former Sen. Slade Gorton on the Republican side and former Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis on the Democratic side.

Final maps will be submitted to the Legislature.