State Capitol News
1:19 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Number Given to Legislative Districts Strategically Planned

If you think the numbers given to legislative districts does not matter, think again. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

When the Independent Redistricting Commission began remapping the state last year, it started with the southeast corner of the state. So the district created there, largely around Cochise County, was designated number one. By the time commission members got to the Prescott area they were up to number 14. That brought protests from residents of that area who said they've ALWAYS been number one. That's true -- but only since 1966. Prior to that, there were no numbers. Districts followed county lines and lawmakers were listed as representing specific counties. But the protests had an effect. So late Tuesday the commission voted to swap numbers, making the Prescott area Legislative District 1 -- and giving that number 14 to Cochise County. Commission chair Colleen Mathis said the move makes sense.

"I do appreciate history," Mathis said. "I am a big fan of the Arizona Historical Society. This is the centennial year. I think that's understandable that they would be requesting us to follow this historical trend of giving District 1 to, LD 1, to the Prescott area."

District numbering history aside, commissioners said the change honors the state's 100th birthday this year -- and that Prescott was the first territorial capital. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.