MINUTES OF THE
REDISTRICTING PUBLIC HEARING
Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 6:00 p.m. - Utah County Administration Bldg., Provo
Sen. Michael G. Waddoups, Chair
Rep. Gerry A. Adair, Chair
Sen. Beverly Evans
Sen. Pete Suazo
Rep. Patrice M. Arent
Rep. Chad E. Bennion
Rep. Ron Bigelow
Rep. Katherine M. Bryson
Rep. Don E. Bush
Rep. Brent H. Goodfellow
Rep. James R. Gowans
Rep. Wayne A. Harper
Rep. LaWanna Shurtliff
Rep. Glenn L. Way
Sen. Ron Allen
Sen. John L. Valentine
Rep. Jackie Biskupski
Rep. Thomas V. Hatch
Rep. Loraine T. Pace
Rep. Jack A. Seitz
Mr. Stewart E. Smith, Redistricting Team Manager
Mr. Jerry D. Howe, Research Analyst
Mr. John Q. Cannon, Research Analyst
Mr. Joseph T. Wade, Research Analyst
Ms. Alicia Gambles, Legislative Secretary
1. Call to Order
Chair Waddoups called the public hearing to order at 6:10 p.m.
2. Introduction to Redistricting
Mr. John Q. Cannon, Research Analyst, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, discussed the redistricting process including the 2000 census results, population shifts in the state with an emphasis on Utah and adjacent counties, and the effect the shifts will have on the redistricting process.
3. Public Input/Comments
Mr. Gary Herbert, Chair of Utah County Commission, said that fair and adequate representation should be the focus of redistricting.
Mr. Greg Duerden, 2000 legislative candidate, indicated that District 58 had a 40 percent growth rate and suggested that the committee adopt communities of interest as a guiding principle. He also indicated that Pleasant Grove is currently divided, but encouraged the committee to look at the cities before splitting them. Mr. Duerden also addressed congressional districts and said that Salt Lake County needs to be split up to create equal districts. He also said that making Salt Lake County part of all three congressional districts would be a clear way of gerrymandering.
Mr. James E. Sumsion, Spanish Fork resident, expressed his concern about an attempt to isolate Sen. Wright (Senate District 17) from Utah County in some kind of gerrymandering effort.
Mr. Richard Davis, Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University, said that there are many factors to consider beyond population. He explained that the state is diverse in terms of partisanship and that redistricting might eliminate possibilities of Democratic representatives being elected. He suggested that a district be created for Salt Lake County which would ensure representation for those in the state who vote Democrat. He asked the committee to think about helping all who are a part of Utah's electorate to feel a part of the Congressional delegation.
Rep. Way asked Mr. Davis if he was asking the committee to ensure that a Democrat is elected to Congress. Mr. Davis emphasized his hope is that the committee not make it impossible for a Democrat to be elected. He said that there is a lack of competition on state and local levels of elections.
Mr. George H. Zinn, Salt Lake County resident, said that this matter has not been studied as effectively as it should be. He indicated that further study is needed in order to make the appropriate decisions on how to redistrict.
Chair Waddoups indicated that neither the political demographics or ethnicity of residents are listed on the state computer when redrawing the lines.
Mr. Gavin Grooms, Provo resident, said his belief that everyone is a Utahn, whether from urban or rural areas. He explained that the citizens of Utah should work together to vote for a representative that will represent the interest of all parties. He also said that the only way the system will survive, is to have equal representation for all parts of Utah.
Ms. Janet Kelsey, Orem resident, said her belief is that the legislature is looking out for itself and not the citizens. She said that she does not want to have to be politically affiliated to be represented. She presented a proposal for a legislative district representing Hispanic influences in Provo.
Ms. Peggy Burdett, Provo resident, said that Provo is not truly being represented. She said that it was not beneficial to combine Salt Lake County with Utah County.
Mr. Jess Adamson, Mayor of Highland, asked the committee to look at the communities that are not large enough to have representation of their own. He asked the committee not to split Highland and not to cross over into Salt Lake County.
Mr. George King, Utah County Republicans, discussed gerrymandering and asked if the committee thought it was unlikely that Utah will win the lawsuit.
Mr. D Christian Harrison, Provo resident, encouraged the committee to keep the districts as compact as possible.
Mr. Jim Bridgewatter, Chair of Utah County Republican Party, addressed the issue of cynicism and said that many Utahns feel disenfranchised from the state.
Mr. Donald Dunn thanked the committee for serving in the legislature and stated that many Utahns are cynical about politics. He asked the committee to create districts with reasonable geographic boundaries. He addressed the congressional district issue and indicated that one solution would be to put Rose Park back with the 2nd District, and by doing so, it will create a community of interest with Salt Lake.
Rep. Matt Throckmorton distributed a copy of the plan developed for the 3rd Congressional District. He indicated that he has established a priority of not taking into consideration partisan politics and said that 27 counties remain whole in his plan.
Sen. Suazo said that what the people want is to keep their city whole. Rep. Throckmorton indicated that 97 percent of Salt Lake City is included in the 2nd Congressional district.
Rep. Arent referred to a letter received from a partisan group of mayors. She indicated that they would not be in agreement with the proposal and that they support unified congressional representation. She indicated that Mayor Stillman wants to be part of the 2nd Congressional district. Rep. Arent also said that the proposal is mixing up the roles of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.
Rep. Throckmorton said that in politics the choices do not always means wrong or right. He said that it really is not a matter of right or wrong, but that it comes down to equal representation.
Rep. Harper said that a principle has not been adopted to look at incumbency so that the process would be fair.
Mr. Dale Barney, Mayor of Spanish Fork, said that he would support whatever the committee decides to do. He indicated that he did not care about party affiliations.
Mr. Nancy Woodside, Chair of Utah County Democratic Party, indicated her support for the map that was proposed by Janet Kelsey. She asked the committee to consider dividing the city as an alternative and said that if her county needs to be split, she supports separating Utah County: by putting Orem, Provo, and everything south together; and then putting Alpine, Highland, and American Fork together.
Mr. Jeff Morris, Orem resident, asked the committee what guiding principles they have adopted for the process. He asked the committee to comment on what problems need to be solved.
Mr. Larry Ellertson, Mayor of Lindon City, encouraged the committee to do the right thing.
MOTION: Sen. Waddoups moved to adjourn the public hearing. The motion passed unanimously. Chair Adair adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.