Ballots and Voters’ Pamphlets for the August 2, 2022, Primary and Special Election have reached Valley homes, and some residents will be surprised to see a change in their Legislative District.
So, what are Legislative Districts?
Also known as an electoral district, a Legislative district is a subdivision of a larger state created to provide its population with representation in the larger state’s legislative body.
Our state is one of only seven states that redistricts by commission. On November 8, 1983, Washington state passed the 74th amendment to its constitution via Senate Joint Resolution 103 to permanently establish the Redistricting Commission. 
This amendment was intended to end gerrymandering, the practice of manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency to favor one party or class.
Every ten years, after the US Census is taken, the state redraws the boundaries of its congressional and state legislative districts to make that the districts represent an equal number of residents.
The bipartisan Washington State Redistricting Commission made the decision, which was established after the census, to redraw legislative and congressional district boundaries. When the redistricting is done, the commission is done too.
Since the last census, North Bend and Snoqualmie have been part of the 5th district. Now, aside from a small portion of the city, North Bend (along with part of Fall City and Carnation) is in the 12th district, which includes Eastern Washington cities, such as Leavenworth, Cashmere, Wenatchee and all of Chelan County.
When asked if he sees being moved from the 5th district to the 12th as a positive or negative change North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland said he believes the change could be both.
McFarland explained that one possible con of being redistricted is that we’ve been moved from a district that knows North Bend and its needs well to a district that doesn’t know us as well. The candidates on the August 2nd ballot incumbents Keith Goehner-R (position 1), Mike Steele-R (position 2) and Robert Amenn-R (position two challenger), come from Dryden, Chelan and Gold bar far removed from our neck of the woods.
However, McFarland noted both 12th district incumbents, Goehner and Steele, have met with him virtually and have come to the district, with Goehner attending a fundraiser for Encompass NW and Steele attending an SVGA meeting (Snoqualmie Valley Government Association) along with Senator Brad Hawkins.
In addition, challenger Amenn is familiar with the Snoqualmie Valley through his work with the Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with our local chamber.
The mayor noted one of the pros to be now North Bend has six state legislators to advocate for valley issues. Most of North Bend was moved to the 12th district, but a small portion of the city remains in the 5th resulting in more representation than before.
Still, this change could mark a shift in party affiliation for the Valley. The 5th district is historically represented by Democrats, while Republicans have represented the 12th for over a decade.
One of the tenants in the redistricting process is to keep communities of interest together. While the environments are much the same, mountainous regions with small towns, do we share the same interests as the people in Chelan, Wenatchee and Gold Bar?
A look through the voter’s pamphlet shows the candidates east of the mountains being heavily involved in the agricultural and forestry industries, while those in the west lean towards engineering and aeronautics. Only time will tell how the new boundaries will work.
These maps are final but subject to pending lawsuits. The new boundaries do not go into effect until after the November 2022 elections. So don’t be surprised if you open your ballot or voter’s pamphlet expecting to see names such as Ramos, Callan and Magendanz only to see Goehner, Amenn and Steele. Parts of the Valley will vote in the 12th district until 2031, when the process will start again.