Capitol Hill Luncheon to Spotlight Redistricting Reform

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  • Dale Eisman

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who joined forces with Common Cause and other organizations to put the clamps on partisan gerrymandering in his home state, will be the headline speaker at a Capitol Hill luncheon on redistricting reform today.

The event will spotlight the work of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, product of a ballot initiative in 2008 that shifted control of redistricting in the state from the legislature to a 14-member commission that includes five Democrats, five Republicans and four citizens unaffiliated with either major party.

The luncheon begins at noon in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building. It is open to the public and the media.

Several commission members are expected to discuss the commission’s success in re-drawing California’s Senate, Assembly, State Board of Equalization, and congressional districts to fairly represent community and regional interests and produce some of the nation’s most competitive election contests. Other scheduled speakers include Prof. Archon Fung of Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Michael Li, Senior Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

The commission draws districts based on information gathered during the U.S. Census. State law requires it to follow strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that provide fair representation for all Californians.

Prof. Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Ash Center Government Innovations Program at the Kennedy School, will be presenting commission members with the 2016 Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government. The award, which carries a $100,000 prize, was announced last month at Harvard following a presentation on the commission’s work by Kathay Feng, Common Cause’s national redistricting coordinator and a principal architect of the law that created the commission.

Note to reporters: Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn and Dan Vicuna, Common Cause’s national redistricting director, will be attending the luncheon and can provide background about Common Cause’s work across the country to promote citizen-driven redistricting.