SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Discussions in Santa Fe over redistricting are getting heated. A group of republican state representatives expressed their frustration over the proposed legislative boundaries, calling the mapping process unfair.
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State Rep. Stefani Lord said the proposed House maps kick the conservative-leaning city of Edgewood out of her district. She claims her constituents are afraid they’ll be stuck in a district that’s more in line with Santa Fe than the East Mountains.
“The East Mountains is a very unique area with very unique issues. The biggest problem is that being moved around, it’s not representative of the people anymore,” Rep. Lord stated.
During a meeting on the House floor Tuesday morning, the so-called Citizen Redistricting Committee presented its recommended maps for the New Mexico House, while outlining the process which included input from about 2,000 New Mexicans.
Republican Representatives Rebecca Dow and James Townsend labeled the mapping process as “political gerrymandering,” favoring the democrats. While Dow backed the bill that created that citizen committee, she said it’s not impartial as she had intended.
Other lawmakers said they see no problem with the new map options. “I think that those arguments are moot in this particular instance. We’ve had non-partisan entities review these maps on a national scale,” Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil explained.
A House committee took public comment on the maps in the afternoon. One speaker urged lawmakers to work with indigenous communities in the northwest part of the state to ensure more Native American representation.
An attorney for the ACLU of New Mexico said the civil rights group supports the redistricting preferences drawn out for the pueblo, Navajo, and Apache nations of New Mexico.