RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A panel of five retired judges voted unanimously to select eight citizens to serve on Virginia’s new Redistricting Commission and work alongside eight state lawmakers in the effort to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative districts.
Voters in Virginia passed a constitutional amendment in November creating a bipartisan group to redraw the legislative boundaries following the 2020 Census.
The referendum mandated that the 16-member group be made up of eight state legislators, four Democrats and four Republicans who have been named already, and eight citizen members selected by the panel.
Legislative leaders narrowed the field of applicants for the redistricting commission over the weekend, selecting 62 finalists out of the more than 1,200 who applied for the eight spots reserved for citizens on the panel.
Two Democratic leaders in the General Assembly, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (Fairfax) and Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (Portsmouth), and two members of the Republican leadership, House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (Shenandoah) and Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment (James City), submitted their finalists on Saturday after choosing two members from their caucus to sit on the commission.
Despite having until Jan. 15 and setting aside days for discussion, the panel selected the eight citizens in their first scheduled meeting Wednesday.
The judges were obligated to select members who represent Virginia’s ethnic, geographic, gender and racial diversity. The panel also had to choose two members from each leader’s list, putting four recommendations from each party.
There are six men and two women on the commission, half are White, two are Black, one is Asian American and one is biracial. Only one member is Hispanic. The list of citizens on the commission and which leader submitted their name is below:
Submitted by Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax)
- Greta J. Harris, Richmond
- Brandon Christopher Hutchins, Virginia Beach
Submitted by Delegate C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah)
- Mackenzie K. Babichenko of Mechanicsville
- Jose A. Feliciano, Jr. of Fredericksburg
Submitted by Senator Louis Lucas (D-Portsmouth)
- James Abrenio of Fairfax
- Sean Kumar of Alexandria
Submitted by Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-Williamsburg)
- Marvin Gilliam of Bristol
- Richard Harrell of South Boston
The legislators already named to the commission include Dels. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond), Les Adams (R-Pittsylvania), Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax), and Margaret Ransone (R-Westmoreland), and Sens. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover), George Barker (D-Fairfax) and Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg).