Neuberg

Erika Schupak Neuberg

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am the independent, politically unaffiliated Chair of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. My colleagues and I are tasked with redrawing Arizona’s congressional and state legislative district lines which serve as the boundaries from which our state and federal representatives seek elected office to represent us.

Your AIRC has been hard at work preparing for the consequential next step of drawing draft maps. We have built a talented and diverse staff whose members share deep state knowledge and speak the same languages as the communities they are reaching out to. We have gathered academics, demographers, legal consultants, mapping consultants, and others who have seamlessly collaborated to advise us. We have studied our state’s racial and ethnic diversity, migration trends, economic drivers, natural resources, and comments from the citizens as to what links us together as communities of interest. We hope the general public continues to take advantage of the trove of civic-minded information provided on the AIRC’s website under the newsroom link!

Since this past summer, we have engaged in an extensive listening tour to identify our state’s various “communities of interest.” I was honored to attend each of the 19 public hearings to date across 47 locations and thank the over 1,000 dedicated citizens who participated. I am proud to say that civic engagement in Arizona is strong. Time and again, people took turns respectfully and passionately expressing their views. We heard about the responsiveness (or lack thereof) of our elected leaders. We learned of historical, geographical, and economic connections, such as the Copper Corridor, that unite us. We were reminded that political compromise is still possible, such as in Yuma; they demonstrated how to turn division into an asset by capitalizing on additional representation. We heard from rural communities fearful that urban growth will impinge on their way of life. And we were reminded that too many minority communities still feel marginalized in their political representation.

Much work remains. The AIRC will continue to hold public meetings throughout the process. Citizens can submit maps, leaving no room for interpretation as to what is important to you as to the constitutional criteria. You do not need to attend a meeting to submit your comments; simply visit irc.az.gov and you will be directed to the appropriate links. The AIRC is open 24/7 for feedback in the language that is most comfortable for you to express your thoughts. Please consider attending an upcoming hearing, or at minimum taking the time to share your feedback. Our sincere goal is for all citizens of Arizona to be heard and counted. We are committed to conducting a transparent, ethical process that fosters as much confidence-building and trust as possible.

I appreciate that there is still much to learn, and take seriously our obligation to protect every citizen’s right to representation. We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to draw legislative and congressional maps that reflect the rich and diverse interests of our citizenry and of our shared home, Arizona. On behalf of all the IRC Commissioners, I look forward to hearing from you.

Erika Schupak Neuberg is an independent and was unanimously elected by her peers to be the volunteer Chair of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, responsible for the once-a-decade process of redrawing Arizona’s congressional and legislative boundaries. She is a graduate of Colorado College, and earned a master’s degree and doctorate in psychology from Arizona State University.

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