House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) chose a pair of delegates who, like her, did not support the constitutional amendment creating the commission, which was approved by voters on Nov. 3. They are Del. Marcus B. Simon (D-Fairfax) and Del. Delores L. McQuinn (D-Richmond).
Both are senior lawmakers who had argued that the terms of the new commission did little to ensure minority representation in the process of drawing political boundaries. McQuinn is a member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.
House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) chose Del. Les Adams (R-Pittsylvania) and Del. Margaret B. Ransone (R-Westmoreland). Neither serves in party leadership, but both ensure that rural parts of the state will be represented in the process.
On the Senate side, President Pro Tempore L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) named Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax) and Sen. Mamie E. Locke (D-Hampton) — both longtime lawmakers, with Locke a senior member of the Black caucus.
Senate Minority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) chose Sen. Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover) and Sen. Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford). McDougle is chairman of the chamber’s GOP caucus and Newman is the former president pro tempore.
The pairs of lawmakers are especially significant because the rules of the commission allow two legislative members to veto a proposed map. Voters approved the commission as a less partisan way to draw political boundaries than the traditional method of having the General Assembly do it. The legislature’s most recent effort, from 2011, was found by federal judges to be racially gerrymandered, and parts had to be redrawn.
Eight citizen members will serve alongside the lawmakers. Applications are available through the state’s Division of Legislative Services. To be eligible, applicants must have been a Virginia resident and a registered voter for at least the past three years, and they must have voted in at least two of the past three elections.
Anyone who has held or run for political office, been employed by a campaign or officeholder, or who has been a registered lobbyist within the past five years will not be eligible to participate, nor will any of their close relatives.
The application form will include questions about education and work history, although there are no minimum requirements for eligibility.
After the Dec. 28 deadline, the legislative members will choose from among the applicants and submit lists of nominees to a panel of five retired circuit court judges. The judges must approve eight choices by Jan. 15, and the full commission is slated to hold its first meeting Feb. 1.
The commission’s chairman will be chosen from among the citizen members.
The panel will have 45 days after receiving U.S. Census Bureau data to submit a proposed map to the General Assembly for consideration.