Gem State Roundup

Democratic leaders choose three Idaho redistricting commission members

By: - July 27, 2021 11:41 am
The Idaho State Capitol building

The Idaho State Capitol building reflected in the Joe R. Williams building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Dan Schmidt (Courtesy of the Idaho Democratic Party).

Amber Pence (Courtesy of the Idaho Democratic Party).

Leaders of the Idaho Democratic Party have selected Dan Schmidt, Amber Pence and Nels Mitchell as their three appointees to the Idaho Citizen Commission for Reapportionment, according to a press release.

The committee is tasked with redrawing legislative and congressional district maps with updated U.S. Census Bureau data every 10 years.

According to previous reporting by the Idaho Capital Sun, legislative and political party leaders have been tasked with appointing a total of six members to the committee, sometimes referred to as the Redistricting Commission. Three Republicans and three Democrats will serve on the commission, and it will take at least four votes to approve a map.

Nels Mitchell (Courtesy of the Idaho Democratic Party).

Senate Democratic Leader Michelle Stennett chose Schmidt, a physician from Moscow for more than 32 years, according to the release. He served as the Latah County corner from 1991 to 2006, and represented Latah and Benewah counties in the Idaho Legislature from 2010 to 2016.

House Democratic Leader Ilana Rubel chose Pence, who is from Tetonia and works as special assistant to the Teton County Board of County Commissioners, according to the release. Pence previously worked as the minority chief of staff in the Idaho House and has served as the director of intergovernmental relations for the city of Boise, the release said.

Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Fred Cornforth chose Mitchell, who has a law degree from the University of Idaho, where he later became a professor. He also worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and managed a staff of 75 lawyers and investigators, according to the release. Mitchell ran as a Democrat against Sen. Jim Risch in 2014.

“These individuals share our commitment to a fair and independent redistricting process,” the three Democratic leaders said in the press release. “We have full confidence in their ability to work with their counterparts to produce publicly favorable and legally sound maps in a timely manner, which will serve our state well for the next decade.”

Republican leaders have so far appointed former Sen. Bart Davis and former Rep. Eric Redman to the committee, but have not selected the third after one appointee, John Simpson, had to withdraw his appointment because of lobbying rules.

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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.