New map increases overall number of competitive districts; better reflects Washington’s diversity

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2021

Redistricting Commissioner Paul Graves today released a newly drawn map that seeks to make legislative districts more competitive.

“Our politics are polarized, and a major reason is non competitive districts. By making more districts competitive, more Washingtonians get to vote in up-for-grabs races, candidates and parties must work harder for their votes, and legislators will be encouraged to listen to all of their constituents,” said Graves.

The newly proposed map follows substantial public input, with more than 20 public hearings across the state, hundreds of public comments, and scores of citizen-drawn map proposals.

Graves’s map is faithful to the legal guidelines governing redistricting, because it focuses on communities of interest and is not drawn to favor either party or incumbents. “This shift doesn’t just benefit any one party, but in fact levels the playing field for both Democrats and Republicans alike.”

Graves’s map increases the overall number of competitive districts—those within three percent of 50/50, using an average of the 2020 statewide race results that pitted a Democrat against a Republican —to eleven, nearly doubling the current six swing districts.

Graves’s map also gives a voice to historically-underrepresented communities. “The 2010 map featured two majority-minority districts; this map has eight, including a true South Tacoma district where a majority of the citizen voting age population is predominantly people of color. This map also takes into account the views of Washington’s tribal governments, providing districts that meet the requests of each tribal government that consulted with us. Fair representation should be bipartisan, and this map reflects that.”

Graves’s map also keeps cities together as much as possible. “The more communities of interest remain intact, the more influential they can ultimately be,” said Graves. “This is a good government map—it’s competitive, fair, follows the constitutional requirements, and focuses on keeping communities of interest together.”

“I kept hearing that cities were split up in nonsensical ways which sought to benefit one party over the other, so I made it a point to try to keep them together,” added Graves. “Cities like Bremerton, Tacoma, Vancouver, Everett and many others have experienced unnecessary district divisions for too long. I’m also proud that we were able to create a new JBLM district. All cities contained in this version of the 28th district have a population with more than 10% active duty military or veteran status. Our servicemen and women put their lives on the line in service to our country; they deserve good representation.”

“This proposal is just the beginning of the negotiation process. We will continue to listen to the public and keep our process transparent. And I will be fighting for competitive districts that give Washingtonians the best chance to turn their votes into legislators they support.”

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Former state representative Paul Graves was born and raised in Maple Valley. One of five children, he attended Tahoma public schools and graduated from Western Washington University—where he served as the student body president—and earned his law degree from Duke University. After law school he served for a year as a law clerk to Washington Supreme Court Justice James Johnson. He then worked at Perkins Coie LLP, the state’s leading law firm.

He served in the Washington State House of Representatives from 2017-19, where he was the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee. He now works as an in-house lawyer for a family- owned trucking company and serves as president of Enterprise Washington, the campaign arm for the state’s business community. He, his wife Jenny, and their sons Patrick and Daniel live in
Newcastle.

Paul is an engaged community member. He maintains an active pro bono legal practice, representing foster youth in legal proceedings. In 2011 he was named the pro bono attorney of the year by the Court Appointed Special Advocate organization, which represents the interest of foster children in court. He served as a board member of both an innovative college-prep non- profit for low income kids, and on one of Washington’s first public charter schools, a high performing school with a computer science focus on Kent’s east hill. He chaired the board of the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (a bipartisan group doing cost-benefit analysis of government programs) and currently serves on the board of HopeLink (a community action network serving homeless and low-income children, families, seniors, and disabled people in East King County), and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (a bipartisan group working to keep our outdoor spaces open, accessible, and protected).

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov