Gould: Maps are 'a starting point'
BULLHEAD CITY ó "They might be a starting point, but I donít think those are going to hold," said District 3 State Sen. Ron Gould (R-Lake Havasu City) regarding the initial grid maps from the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, published in Thursdayís Mohave Valley Daily News. Gould also serves as chairman of the Mohave County Republican Central Committee.

"Thatís all computer-generated," Gould said. "The only thing that they take into consideration on that is compactness."

Regarding a U.S. congressional map, placing Mohave County in the same district as Pima County, "I donít think it would happen just because essentially youíre throwing in the conservative part of the state in with some Hispanic Democrats. The (U.S.) Justice Department is going to say you were disenfranchising those folks," Gould said. The Department of Justice must approve the final maps to make sure minorities are not shortchanged.

The grid maps for the state legislative district removed Colorado City and the "Arizona Strip," the far-northern part of Mohave County, from the remainder of the county. "Our main thrust was to try to keep all of Mohave County together, which would include the little communities up on the strip, too," said District 3 State Rep. Nancy McLain (R-Bullhead City). "Both (District 3 State Rep.) Doris (Goodale) and I have really developed a good relationship with the folks up there," McLain said. "Iím afraid, especially if theyíre put over with the folks in Coconino County and the Navajo Nation, that they wonít get any representation at all." McLain agreed with Gould that the initial grids are not likely to be finalized.

Gould and McLain are serving in their last terms, due to term limits. McLain is eyeing Gouldís senate seat. Itís possible Gould will run to fill McLainís house seat, but itís more likely Gould will run for the U.S. House if Mohave County is removed from Rep. Trent Franksí district. "Iím waiting to see what the lines are," he said. He was contemplating a run for Franksí seat if Franks had decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Gould said he would not challenge Franks in a primary because "we agree on 99 percent of the issues."

If Mohave County were moved into GOP Rep. Paul Gosarís district, Gould said, "itís possible" he might challenge Gosar in a primary. "He voted to raise the debt ceiling," Gould noted.

People can submit information and maps to the redistricting commission at www.azredistricting.org.
Originally published Friday, August 19, 2011