ID Grows More Diverse, But Not Its Redistricting Commission
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
BOISE, Idaho - The redistricting process begins today in Idaho, and some are raising concerns that the commission overseeing it doesn't reflect the state's growing diversity.
Rudy Soto, who chairs the Native American Democratic Caucus of Idaho and is a member of the League of Minority Voters' National Board of Trustees, said state leaders, especially Democrats, missed an opportunity to choose a person of color for Idaho's six-member Citizen Commission for Reapportionment, in charge of drawing the state's voting districts.
"It's just very symbolic for them to not have a single seat at the table," he said. "I think it really sends the wrong message to our kids and communities throughout the state who are an integral part of just our society."
Soto noted that the omission is especially glaring in light of the state's growing Hispanic population. Recent census numbers showed that nearly one in five Idahoans is not white and about one in eight is Latino. Idaho's Hispanic and Latino populations have grown by 36% in the past decade. Idaho also was the second-fastest-growing state in the nation.
Democratic leaders in charge of appointments did not respond to a request for comment.
Idaho is home to five tribes, and Soto said Native Americans also are speaking out about the lack of representation on the redistricting commission.
"Their concerns regarding the lack of representation make it such that there's a real risk of the votes of minorities being divvied up that would result in diluting and lessening the power of those votes," he said.
Soto said communities of color should be included as public meetings get under way. Native Americans are asking that some meetings be held on reservations, and Soto said Latino groups are organizing around this issue. In his view, it's never too late to do the right thing.
"They need to figure out how to reassure our communities that we are respected," he said, "that there's decency and dignity for the contributions that we make to the state."
get more stories like this via email
DENVER - On Wednesday, leaders from Colorado's 13 community colleges joined a national effort to help more of the state's adults get credentials and …
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Today, a virtual summit hosted by the Las Vegas Mayor's Faith Initiative looks at the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous …
HOUSTON -- Many U.S. communities with bustling downtowns were better prepared to weather economic fallout from the pandemic, thanks to a decades-old …
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin group that advocates for working families is launching a new campaign, which connects federal policy to the …
Health and Wellness
WATERLOO, Iowa -- Advocates for Iowans with disabilities are sounding the alarm over what they describe as a caregiver crisis, pleading with …
BRAINERD, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners are storing their watercraft for the winter. But that isn't stopping the conversation about responsible water …
BOISE, Idaho - Millions of members around the world, including some Idahoans, are observing International Credit Union Day today. This year marks 73…
INDIANAPOLIS -- As finding a career becomes more difficult for young people, a new report said the U.S. needs a more comprehensive approach to …