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“Close but no cigar” when it comes to Arlington representation on the new Virginia legislative-redistricting commission.
The eight-member panel (comprised of six men and two women) selected from 62 finalists and 1,200 overall applicants includes representation from neighboring Fairfax County and Alexandria, but no Arlington residents made the cut.
The citizen members will join eight members of the General Assembly (tapped by legislative leaders) in the effort to redraw state Senate, House of Delegates and congressional seats based on 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data.
The panel came into being after voters in November approved a state constitutional amendment taking redistricting power out of the hands of the General Assembly.
(Well, not entirely: State legislators will be able to approve or reject – but not amend – the redistricting plans submitted by the commission. If the proposals are rejected, the measure will be sent to the Virginia Supreme Court to set district boundaries.)
The citizen members of the body were chosen from among applicants by a panel of state judges.
Citizen members of the panel include James Abrenio, Fairfax County; Mackenzie Babichenko, Mechanicsville; Jose Feliciano, Fredericksburg; Marvin Gilliam, Bristol; Richard Harrell, South Boston; Greta Harris, Richmond; Brandon Hutchins, Virginia Beach; and Sean Kumar, Alexandria.
State legislators selected to serve on the panel include Dels. Marcus Simon, Delores McQuinn, Les Adams and Margaret Ransome and Sens. Mamie Locke, George Barker, Steve Newman and Ryan McDougle. None is local to Arlington.