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State District 5 courts Camp Verde
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Thursday, 11 August 2011 12:00

Bob BurnsideA group is trying to persuade the Town of Camp Verde to join Arizona State Legislature District 5 in an effort to save that district’s cohesion during the current redistricting process in the wake of the 2010 Census.

Camp Verde is currently in District 1, along with the rest of the Verde Valley.

District 5 includes parts of Navajo and Apache counties south of the Navajo reservation, along with Greenlee, Graham and Gila counties.

Shirley Dye, a representative for Friends of Legislative District 5, gave her pitch to the Camp Verde Town Council last week at its Aug. 3 regular meeting.

Dye said she’s been making the rounds in the region, attending public meetings trying to get a feel for public opinion.

“Everyone is looking to get Camp Verde,” Dye said.

Dye said that District 5 came up about 20,000 people short when the latest census numbers were counted. Districts are proposed by the state’s independent redistricting committee and must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. The goal is to make the districts as equal as possible, with the target goal for population in a district at around 213,000, Dye said.

Taking in Camp Verde and Cordes Lakes would allow District 5 to meet its goal. Otherwise, Dye said other proposed maps would split up her district.

Dye played on the similarities between Camp Verde and the rest of District 5.

“This is all rural Arizona,” Dye said. “It’s a lot of small communities and a lot of [U.S.] Forest Service land. It would be a wonderful thing if you could join.”

Joining District 5, Dye said, would keep the district “compact, contiguous and competitive.”

The small-town nature of communities in District 5 would be a good fit for Camp Verde, Dye said.

“You send your vegetables up there to our farmers market,” Dye said.

Dye also said that District 5 is home to the White Mountain, San Carlos and Tonto Apaches, who “have friends down here in your Yavapai-Apache Nation.”

Without Camp Verde, Dye said other proposed maps would “chop up” her district, citing a proposal where District 5 would be divided up among four other districts.

“It messes everyone up,” Dye said.

Dye said a number of people at a recent public meeting in Pinetop were in support of bringing Camp Verde into their district.

She said time is short, but Mayor Bob Burnside said there was no reason for the town to rush into anything.

“We don’t need to jump in it,” Burnside said. “I would like to see what District 1 has to offer us.”

Dye said that if the town wanted to try and join District 5, it should write a letter to the redistricting committee expressing its support for the proposal.

“This all has to be done by October,” Dye said.{jcomments on}


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