WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - On Aug. 5, Navajo Nation Speaker Johnny Naize informed the New Mexico Redistricting Committee his appointments of two Council Delegates to assist the Navajo Nation Human Rights Office as the Committee discusses redistricting lines for all New Mexico state and congressional legislative districts.
Council Delegates LoRenzo Bates (T'iistoh Sikaad, Nenahnezad, Upper Fruitland, Tse' Daa' Kaan, Newcomb, San Juan) and Leonard Tsosie (Littlewater, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Whitehorse Lake, Baca/Prewitt, Casamero Lake, Ojo Encino, Counselor), will guide the Commission in the development of maps, concepts, and goals, including testimony, regarding the redistricting of New Mexico.
"I want to express my appreciation to the 18-member Redistricting Committee for taking on the once-a-decade task of ensuring equal representation for our New Mexican residents within the State Legislature and Washington, D.C.," said Speaker Naize. "Just as this Committee has taken this arduous task of redistricting, our Council has taken a similar path to address advocacy efforts within the three states the Navajo Nation occupies."
Redistricting or the redrawing of electoral boundaries for state and congressional representation occurs after the release of Census data that is collected every 10 years. For Congressional representation some states may lose a seat in the House of Representatives due to population loss, while others may gain. Arizona is gaining a seat this time due to population growth. Redistricting also may strengthen or weaken voting populations. The City of Gallup is currently split into two districts and would support a plan that would reunite the city.
Most states assign a bi-partisan commission to redraw electoral boundaries that is eventually approved by the state legislature and governor.
On Aug. 1, the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee passed its resolution and authorized the Speaker to assign Council Delegates to Arizona, Utah and New Mexico redistricting efforts. Delegate Alton Shepherd (Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kinlichee, Steamboat) will work with Arizona efforts; Delegate Jonathan Nez (Tsah Bii Kin, Navajo Mountain, Shonto, Oljato) will serve to represent both Arizona and Utah realignments; Delegate Kenneth Maryboy (Mexican Water, To'likan, Teesnospos, Aneth, Red Mesa) will work with Utah plans; and Delegates Bates and Tsosie will represent New Mexico.
Both Arizona and Utah have already started their Redistricting Committee meetings.