Chris DeRosa Speaks for League at August 23 Commission Meeting

Good morning.

I’m Chris DeRosa.  This morning I am here, representing the League of Women Voters of Virginia, including our President, Deb Wake, and over 2200 members of the League.

We have worked hard for #Fair maps for many, many years, including helping to pass the Constitutional Amendment in November.  Our position is that we want and need fair maps for the benefit of the voters of Virginia.  Virginians want to elect representatives of their choice.

The biggest improvement in the process, we believe, is transparency – we are watching and listening to all your discussions and votes with great interest.  Pouring sunshine into the process is important.  We ask you to be wary of going around FOIA and transparency by allowing any decisions to be made behind closed doors.

Also, we fully support the establishment of other criteria for maps, especially the respect for  Communities of Interest(COI) and  the rights of ethnic, racial, and language minorities “to elect representatives of their choice”. 

Although we would have preferred a nonpartisan, all-citizen commission, we are hopeful that all of you on this commission, being balanced and bipartisan, will work for the benefit of all Virginians.

We hope that you are listening to the voices of the people.  We hope that you are reading all of the comments – nearly 400 written comments submitted by email, over 125 in the newest portal, (more than 3/4 of those submitted in the past 10 days).   League members have read all comments and note that a few threads have been woven throughout the meetings and hearings.    We’ve heard loudly and clearly that people want their communities kept together rather than split into 2 or more districts unnecessarily.  Reunite them into one cohesive community.

Secondly, another thread is that not one person who has submitted testimony has advised the Commissioners to begin with existing maps.  Virginians do not want this to happen. Thank you to those of you who put aside partisanship today with your vote.

These messages are from the people of Virginia.  Hear their voices.  Do what’s right for the people, not what’s right for the Ds or the Rs, not what’s right for partisan interests.  What’s fair for the people, not for politicians. 

You are concerned with “landing this plane” and maps getting approval from members of the General Assembly.  You might land the plane, but if the politicians are in the pilot seats and the cabin door is locked, you may not have the approval of the voters sitting in the passenger cabin.  We hope that you will keep this in mind:  draw maps that the residents of this Commonwealth will approve.  You should work for us.   And The League is here to work alongside with you.


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