Yuma County representation will now double
The U.S. Justice Department cleared the way this week for a new era in Yuma County politics.
The federal agency's approval of new congressional redistricting maps will give our county two representatives in Congress instead of only one, as has been the case for many years.
That is because Yuma County has been split between two different U.S. House of Representatives districts. The district lines were redrawn after the 2010 census and will remain in place for at least a decade.
One district will include part of the city of Yuma and residents in northern and eastern parts of the county. It will also include La Paz County, Mohave County and parts of Yavapai, Gila, Pinal and Maricopa counties.
The other district will include part of the city of Yuma and residents living in the southern part of the county. It will also include Santa Cruz County and parts of Pima and Pinal counties.
The dividing line for the two districts runs through the city of Yuma, meaning different parts of the city will have different members representing them.
It will undoubtedly create confusion at first, especially during the upcoming fall election, as residents try to understand who is seeking election as their congressman. And those running for office will find themselves trying to represent large and diverse areas.
Some believe this change could work against the interests of Yuma County because we will now be a smaller part of two far-flung districts with less influence with those holding office.
But we believe it could ultimately be an advantage for us.
The reality is that those running for Congress are not going to represent just part of the city of Yuma or the county, for that matter. They are not going to turn people away because they live across the district line. The entire city and county are joined in a community of similar interests with many interactions, and the two members of Congress will likely both represent it based on that view. They are also likely to work together when it comes to representing our particular interests.
So, in effect, our community's influence in Congress has just been doubled. And that's a good thing.