Capital Clicks

Redistricting commission considers three options for chairperson

By: - March 1, 2021 4:06 pm

A map of Iowa Senate districts for 2012 – 2022. (Courtesy of the Iowa Legislative Services Agency)

Three women are under consideration to lead Iowa’s redistricting process.

The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission is made up of four people two nominated by Democrats and two nominated by Republicans who must elect the fifth and final member to serve as the chairperson. On Monday, commission members discussed three possibilities but agreed to meet again next week to vote.

Former state representative Chris Hagenow and former Department of Management director Dave Roederer both proposed Carmine Boal, a former state representative from Ankeny, for the position.

Boal, a Republican, served as a state representative from 1999 to 2007. She then returned to the Capitol in 2012 to serve as the chief clerk of the House. In that position, she worked with both Republicans and Democrats.

“She is someone of great integrity and kindness,” Hagenow said.

Both Hagenow and Roederer praised Boal’s ability to be helpful, even during political disagreements.

“I didn’t always get the answers that I wanted, and she didn’t always get the answers she wanted from me either, but it was always very professional,” Roederer said.

Commission member and former secretary of state candidate Deidre DeJear proposed two other possibilities. 

The first was Terese Grant, president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan group that advocates for increasing voting accessibility and fair redistricting practices. 

“The organization of the League itself and what it stands for, as it relates to voting and getting people engaged, (is) as far from partisanship as possible,” DeJear said. 

DeJear also proposed Jazmin Newton, a Davenport attorney who serves as the deputy state director for the League of Latin American Citizens. Newton, a Democrat, narrowly lost an election for the Scott County Board of Supervisors in November, the Quad-City Times reported.

“When you think about the role of this specific commission and getting feedback from the community, Jazmin, of course, has a really strong tie with Latinx populations around the state because of the leadership that she has in the Latinx community,” DeJear said.

The redistricting process remains in limbo in Iowa. The Legislative Services Agency and the Temporary Redistricting Commission need data from the U.S. Census to begin redrawing legislative maps, but the Census has announced that data may not be available until late September. 

However, the Iowa Constitution says the Legislature must approve redistricting maps by Sept. 1. Commission members and lawmakers are uncertain how the timeline will be resolved.

The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission members plan to vote next Monday for the chairperson.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.