After passing one bill, a Governor's veto, and a weeks worth of negotiating, the General Assembly passed a new redistricting plan that was signed by Governor McDonnell on Friday. The plan will now go to the Department of Justice for preclearance pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The legislature put Westgate Precinct into Delegate Albo's district and Huntington Precinct into Delegate Sickles District. Kirkside Precinct (Gum Springs, Hollin Hills, Kirkside), Marlan Precinct (Bucknell, Marlan Forest, Villamay & Hollin Glen), most of Hayfield Precinct, and part of Belvoir Precinct (the main post plus Accotink Village) were added.
You can see the difference in the map below. The pink is everything that stayed the same. The red are new parts of the 44th, and blue are the parts that were removed.
View 44th District 2011 Redistricting in a larger map
I'm pleased that the new district keeps the Mount Vernon community mostly together. Many other communities were chopped in pieces. However, I'm disappointed to lose my constituents in Westgate and Huntington Precincts.
I've always thought high school boundaries are a good way to look at communities of interest. The 44th district loses one elementary school territory - Mount Eagle - and picks up Hayfield Elementary and Fort Belvoir Elementary School - the largest elementary school in Fairfax County. Plus, the 44th District picks up students that attend Hayfield High School.
From my point of view, the redistricting process is seriously flawed. Voters should pick their elected officials - elected officials should not pick their voters. The present system is designed to minimize public input and maximize incumbent protection. It is time to pass nonpartisan redistricting when the next redistricting is ten years away and no one knows how it will affect things.
It is nice for this to be over. I have been away from my job and family too much and it is nice to be back home.