On December 19, 2011, Democratic Perspective hosted Angela LeFevre, president of Democrats of the Red Rocks, to discuss the political landscape in Arizona.
When asked about the current political situation in Arizona, she replied, “The state is split equally between Democrats, Republicans and Independents, yet the legislature is totally dominated by Republicans. The only explanation is the way the districts have been drawn.”
“Politics for our area have been totally dominated by Prescott,” she continued. “Since Tom O’Halleran lost his legislative office in the last Republican primary, there has been no representation for the entire Verde Valley. None of our legislators have come to Sedona.”
That should change, according to LeFevre. “It now looks as if Sedona will be moved to Legislative District 6 (LD-6) as part of the Flagstaff area,” she stated. “This is a very competitive district represented by Democrat Tom Chabin. The redistricting maps are not final yet, but it appears that the elections will no longer be decided in the Republican primary.”
“As for the Congressional Districts, Arizona is now entitled to one more district as the result of population growth,” said LeFevre. Among other potential changes, she cited the willingness of the Navajo and Hopi to be placed in the same district. “It appears there will be two rural districts divided East and West,” she said. “Thankfully, Sedona is likely to be in the East. The West is extremely conservative.”
Regarding the recent controversy over the Independent Redistricting Commission, Angela declared, “The Republicans made an outrageous power grab by impeaching Mathis (the Commission chair). But the Supreme Court struck down the attempt. As a result, Governor Brewer is no longer meddling in the process. Voters intentionally took the power for redistricting away from the legislature,” said LeFevre. “Democrats have been very supportive of the Commission’s work and, overall, the Commission has done a good job. It made a mistake by splitting Sedona, but the Commissioners listened and that seems to have been fixed.”
She said that the Independent Redistricting Commission is expected to finish its work by Christmas.
When asked how people can get involved with the political process, Angela suggested joining Democrats of the Red Rocks. “DORR is very active and growing. There is also a group in Cottonwood called Democrats of the Verde Valley. It’s important to get involved. 2012 will be a huge year. Our organizations need help in all aspects, from baking cookies to knocking on doors. There is even a candidate training program for those inclined to run for office,” she concluded.