Both good, bad news in results of primary vote
The results of Tuesday's primary election confirmed one concern that had been voiced about the redrawn voting lines that emerged from the redistricting process after the 2010 Census. At least some Yuma-area residents will not be represented by state lawmakers who are actually from our area.
Yuma County was divided between two legislative districts as part of the balancing of voting populations required by federal law. The changes were dramatic for us.
Instead of having one legislative district that primarily encompassed Yuma County, there are now two which are wide-ranging in geography — in one case running primarily south of Interstate 8 and stretching nearly to Tucson (Legislative District 4) and in the other running north of I-8, stretching from northern Yuma over to the west Phoenix area (Legislative District 13).
Actually, there is good and bad news in the new arrangement, at least for this election cycle.
In the case of District 4, Yuma County is assured of having two House members (with some votes still being counted, it appears it will be Lisa Otondo and Juan Carlos Escamilla) and one State Senate member (Lynne Pancrazi). In District 13 there will also be one State Senate member from Yuma County (Don Shooter). This has already been decided because there are either no challengers or voters selected them in the primary.
That's good news because this means Yuma County will actually have one additional member in the Legislature next year representing our interests. Previously we only had three.
But the bad news is that the two winning State House members from District 13 (Darin Mitchell and Steve Montenegro) live in the west Phoenix metropolitan area. The one local person in that race, Russ Jones — a long-time representative of Yuma in the Legislature — was defeated in the primary and will not remain in office.
This is disappointing since Mitchell and Montenegro seemed to show little interest in Yuma voters during the primary campaign other than through campaign signs.
Will they truly be aware of our local issues and desires?
We hope that will be the case, but it shows the down-side of the way these large and diverse districts were drawn. Yuma County is more rural than the home area of our House representatives in District 13 that is probably more urban in its interests.
The question of Yuma-area residents is how that will affect the way we are represented.