The five-member state Redistricting Commission named Olympia resident Bonnie Bunning as its executive director during a special meeting late Friday.
Bunning, described as an independent, is a former official with the Department of Natural Resources and worked under Republican and Democratic lands commissioners. She began her career as a "pioneering female geologist" who worked in the private sector in Eastern Washington, according to the commission's announcement.
She will serve as executive director for the bipartisan commission that will redraw the state's political boundaries to ensure equal populations in 10 congressional districts and 49 legislative districts. The commission has two Democrats – Tim Ceis, former Seattle deputy mayor, and Dean Foster, former chief of staff for Gov. Booth Gardner who lives in Olympia – and two Republicans – former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton of Bellevue and Tom Huff, a former representative and budget writer from Gig Harbor.
The independent and non-voting chair is Lura Powell of Richland.
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The commission's plan must be sent to the Legislature by Dec. 31 and takes effect in February. Lawmakers can make minor changes only with a two-thirds supermajority vote. The plan will govern the 2012 election cycle that will include Washington's new 10th congressional district.
For details on the recent census release and its effects on the redistricting process locally, go here for our recent blog post. Go here for the commission’s announcement about the 2010 Census data released this week that is guiding the new map.
Go here for more detail about the commission, its history and charts showing how the different political districts have grown in the past decade.