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How the 2022 legislative redistricting will affect some voters in Snoqualmie Valley

Ballots and voter brochures for the August 2, 2022 primary and special elections have reached homes across the Valley, and some residents will be surprised to see a change in their legislative district.

So what are legislative constituencies?

Also known as an electoral district, a legislative district is a subdivision of a larger state created to provide its people with representation in the larger state legislature.[1]

Our state is one of seven states doing commission redistribution. On November 8, 1983, Washington State passed the 74th Amendment to its constitution via Joint Senate Resolution 103 to permanently establish the Redistricting Commission. [2]

This amendment sought to end gerrymandering, the practice of manipulating the boundaries of an electoral district to favor one party or class.

Every ten years, after the U.S. census, the state redraws the boundaries of its congressional and state legislative districts to ensure that the districts represent an equal number of residents.

Washington State’s bipartisan Redistricting Commission made the decision, which was established after the census, to redraw the boundaries of the legislative and congressional districts. When the redistricting is done, the commission is also made.

As of the last census, North Bend and Snoqualmie are part of the 5th District. Now, aside from a small part of the city, North Bend (with part of Fall City and Carnation) is in the 12th Ward, which includes eastern Washington towns, such as Leavenworth, Cashmere, Wenatchee, and all Chelan County.

When asked if he sees being moved from 5e borough at 12e as a positive or negative change, North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland said he thinks the change could be both.

McFarland explained that a possible downside of being redistributed is that we have been moved from a district that knows North Bend and its needs well to one that doesn’t know us as well. The candidates for the August 2 ballot, incumbents Keith Goehner-R (position 1), Mike Steele-R (position 2) and Robert Amenn-R (position two challenger), come from Dryden, Chelan and Gold bar far from our neck of the woods.

However, McFarland rated both 12e district incumbents Goehner and Steele met with him virtually and came to the district, with Goehner attending a fundraiser for Encompass NW and Steele attending an SVGA (Snoqualmie Valley Government Association) meeting with Senator Brad Hawkins.

Additionally, challenger Amenn is familiar with the Snoqualmie Valley from his work with the Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with our local chamber.

The mayor noted that one of the pros to be now North Bend has six state lawmakers championing valley issues. Most of North Bend was moved to the 12e arrondissement, but a small part of the city remains in the 5e resulting in more representation than before.

Still, this change could mark a shift in party affiliation for the Valley. The 5th district has historically been represented by Democrats, while Republicans have represented the 12th for over a decade.

One of the tenants of the redistricting process is to keep communities of interest together. While the environments are much the same, mountainous regions with small towns, do we share the same interests as the people of Chelan, Wenatchee and Gold Bar?

A glance at the voter’s brochure shows that candidates east of the mountains are heavily involved in the agricultural and forestry industries, while those in the west lean towards engineering and aeronautics. Only time will tell how the new limits will work.

These cards are final but subject to ongoing litigation. The new limits won’t come into effect until after the November 2022 election. So don’t be surprised if you open your ballot or voter brochure expecting to see names like Ramos, Callan and Magendanz for see only Goehner, Amenn and Steele. Parts of the valley will vote in the 12th arrondissement until 2031, when the process will begin again.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_district

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Redistricting_Commission

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