El Tiempo Hispano
DELAWARE — Members of the Hispanic Community Redistricting Task Force held a press conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 27th in front of the Sussex County Building in Georgetown to announce the formation of its Sussex County Committee and the task force’s proposal for public participation in the General Assembly redistricting process and the enforcement of H.B. 384. The group also released the first draft of its proposed maps for the 37th State Representative district.
“Our task force has established four principals to guide its work: gathering all the information we can on redistricting, outreach to expand our membership, educating communities on redistricting and its impact and assisting communities that choose to become involved in the redistricting process,” said Sandra Bucay, a member of the task force leadership team.
Ms Bucay, whose is also president of First State LULAC continued, “We are an inclusive effort with the support of Delaware organizations and individuals that reflect the cross section of our state.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is a Hispanic civil rights organization that has been in existence since 1929. “Our commitment to the redistricting effort is consistent with our mission. It’s just the beginning of our work here. After redistricting is completed we will be involved in all the responsibilities of civic participation: education, voter registration and getting voters from our communities to the polls,” Ms Bucay concluded.
Mark Brunswick, a lobbyist and task force member said. “One of our first tasks was to look at the resolutions passed by the House and Senate on redistricting. We applaud the leadership of the General Assembly for declaring that redistricting should be an open process and we have submitted a proposal to House and Senate leadership that we feel ensures acceptable opportunities for public participation.”
Sandra Spence, president of the League of Women Voters of Delaware, will join the task force members at the press conference. “Work on issues like redistricting has always been a mission of the League,” Spence said.
“During this round we have a particular interest in seeing that H.B. 384, which was passed by the 145th General Assembly and signed by Governor Markell on August 31st is enforced. The legislation calls for Delawareans in state and federal prison facilities to be counted at their home addresses instead of their prison location. Adhering to the law will have an impact on the drawing of House districts, particularly in New Castle County.”
House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf has said that Maptitude, the software being used to calculate populations and redraw districts, does not have the capacity to relocate prisoners to their home addresses and the software company has quoted a price of $40-70,000 to modify the software.
They have a promised that the software will be adjusted to accommodate this issue by the next round of reapportionment and redistricting in 2020. ‘Maptitude for Redistricting’ (http://www.caliper. com/mtredist.htm) is owned and published by the Caliper Corporation of Newton, MA. The software costs approximately $10,000.
“We are pleased the General Assembly is committed to the principle of keeping communities of interest, citizens bound by social, economic, ethnic, language or racial similarities, intact as much as possible,” said Craig de Mariana Alemon, a Georgetown businessman, member of the Delaware Council of La Raza and a member of the Sussex County committee of the task force.
“The principle of common interest is reflected in our draft proposal for the map of the 37th representative district. Our role in the task force is to help monitor that principle in redrawing districts at all levels in Sussex County.
Our parent organization, the National Council of La Raza, traces its origins to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, as well as to previous efforts that preceded World War II, such as those related to early school and housing desegregation.”
Members of the Hispanic Community Redistricting Task Force include: First State League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic Affairs (GACHA), Representatives of the League of Women Voters-Delaware, American Civil Liberties Union-Delaware, Delaware Council of La Raza, Hispanic Business Association, Hispanic War Veterans of America, La Esperanza, Delaware Coalition for Open Government (DELCOG).