In a development that would have seemed fantastic and unbelievable to most political observers only yesterday, Democrats and Republican Commissioners on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission unanimously elected Psychologist and Pro-Israel Lobbyist Dr. Erika Schupak Neuberg as the new Independent Chairperson of their five-person body.
Democrat Commissioner Derrick Watchman was elected as the Vice-Chairperson.
A lobbyist who has donated to campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans in Arizona and across the country (including inexplicably Coup Plotter Mo Brooks in 2018,) Dr. Neuberg was the only candidate considered for a vote.
After hearing of her election, Dr. Neuberg, according to the January 21, 2021 issue of Yellow Sheet, said:
“I’m deeply honored by this selection and I truly view this as a collective vote of confidence in the legitimacy and independence of our process by all parties involved. I have the
greatest belief Republicans, Democrats and independents will be very fairly represented and will have a voice in this process.”
Her selection has met near-universal praise. In a tweet, Progress Arizona signaled its support for Dr. Neuberg’s election.
The Arizona Democratic Party released a statement which relayed:
“Today the Arizona Democratic Party congratulates the members of the Independent Redistricting Commission on their unanimous, bipartisan selection of both Dr. Erika Schupak Neuberg as Independent Chair and Democrat Derrick Watchman as Vice-Chair.”
Party Spokesperson Matt Grodsky elaborated further, writing:
“We congratulate the IRC Commissioners on two decisions that will hopefully set the tone for the collaborative work of the commission going forward. We applaud their ability to come together in a bipartisan manner on two very consequential decisions, and for electing to leadership Derrick Watchman, whose experience, skills, and perspective will be an invaluable asset to the Commission and the redistricting process.
As they now move forward with the important work of redrawing Arizona’s maps, we strongly urge the Commissioners to make public engagement a top priority. The input given by thousands of Arizona residents in communities throughout the state was a key component in the success of the 2011 IRC. Public comment is an essential piece of the IRC process and was a driving factor behind the IRC’s creation. The Arizona Democratic Party implores the Commissioners to commit now to a series of early public hearings, held across the state, that will be safe, frequent and accessible to all.”
Hopefully, the Independent Redistricting Commission, with its finalized membership, will be able to create fairly drawn congressional and legislative districts in an open process so the people of Arizona can choose the best candidates that run to serve the public.