The creation of a new congressional district within the Phoenix metropolitan area has two prominent local politicians looking to make the jump from municipal figurehead to national representative.
Through population increases identified by the 2010 Census, new lines have been drawn for nine federal congressional districts to serve an area that over the past 10 years was covered by eight.
Congressional District 9 -- the new legislative boundary -- spans parts of Ahwatukee, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Town of Paradise Valley and the Biltmore area of Phoenix.
In total there are 10 candidates -- three Democrats and seven Republicans -- asking a little more than 300,000 voters to send them to Washington.
Democrat candidates are Andrei Cherny, David Schapira and Krysten Sinema. Republican candidates are Lisa Borowsky, Travis Grantham, Vernon Parker, Wendy Rogers, Leah Campos Schandlbauer, Martin Sepulveda and Jeff Thompson.
On Aug. 28, voters will narrow the list of candidates to two front runners -- a Democrat and a Republican -- to face off for the seat this November.
The Independent Redistricting Commission -- a group assigned by state statute consisting of two Republicans, two Democrats and an independent chairwoman -- created CD9 under terms ensuring
equal representation at the U.S. House of Representatives.
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The concept and tenets of one-person, one-vote legislation guided the creation of nine geographical areas carved out to be roughly the same amount of population, according to Kristina
Gomez, Independent Redistricting Commission deputy executive director.
"When creating these districts you have to take into account the six criteria under the state Constitution," she said in a July 10 phone interview. "Every 10 years we have redistricting."
Tenets of the criteria for redrawing district boundaries include consideration for equal population, contiguousness, the Voting Rights Act, communities of interest, municipal and county
boundaries and competitiveness, Ms. Gomez points out.
Ms. Gomez says the commission system -- compared to when the Arizona Legislature redrew lines -- promotes fairness and ensures the people, not politicians, are best served through the
The governing document of the commission is Proposition 106, which was passed by Arizona voters in the 2000 general election.
Politics aside, Ms. Gomez says CD9 is comprised of people from all walks of life.
"The voter age population is 549,718," she explained noting that 373,148 of those are registered voters.
Following the announcement of the results for the 2010 Census, the Independent Redistricting Commission held 53 public meetings seeking comment on what the everyday citizen wants from the new legislative district.
"They listened to people's concerns and their interests and what is important to them and their community at large," she explained. "What the bread and butter, or what I like to call the bread and butter, of our process here is actual public comment."
Two candidates -- one a councilmember from the Town of Paradise Valley, the other Scottsdale -- say issues carrying the most merit by residents of CD9 is the economy and the lack of significant job creation.
"I think this district really embodies the changing mood of the political sphere around the country," Vernon Parker said in a July 10 phone interview. "It is mainly comprised of independent voters ... the growing sentiment is that people are tired of both parties."
Paradise Valley Councilman Parker formed an exploratory committee for governor about three years ago.
"One of the most cherished things in the world and in this country is to have a job," referring to the major topic of concern he says he encounters on the campaign trail. "They want stability, they want a job."
Scottsdale Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky says she believes fiscal concerns top all other issues for CD9 residents.
"My big focus is really on the fiscal sides of the issues," she said in a July 10 phone interview. "I think this is perfect timing to take that passion and philosophy to Washington."
Councilwoman Borowsky says the newly formed district will allow the best chance for a new candidate to emerge victorious this November - she has never run for anything other than local
"Certainly that presents an opportunity for everyone in the race," she said of the new seat. "I think it is not only a big race for our state, but for the country."
Having a job, finding a job if you don't have one and the creation of new jobs are concerns on everyone's mind, Councilwoman Borowsky contends.
"I think it is important in the district, in the city, in the county, in the state that everyone's focus is on the economy - getting people back to work and getting people stable in their financial lives," she pointed out. "That impacts everyone's every day life. That is something that penetrates so deeply."
Mr. Parker agrees the job market is a constant concern.
"There is so much uncertainty out there," he said of jobs available and coming in the near future. I can't tell you how many people have lost their jobs - it is really painful to watch."
News Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at www.twitter.com/nvnewsman