San Tan Valley was affected by the changes. The final maps still have to be cleared by the Department of Justice. However, as they stand, they will probably be in effect for the 2012 elections.
First are the proposed Congressional Districts. These districts affect who we will be electing to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Overall, the changes to the entire state are pretty drastic compared to the previous map. There are nine seats assigned to Arizona. Five of those seats will be clustered around the Phoenix metropolitan area and the remaining four cover the rest of the state.
The Queen Creek and San Tan Valley area will be affected by districts one, four, and five. District five is the smallest. It covers East Mesa, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, and Queen Creek. It appears to mostly end on the borders of Maricopa and Pinal County along Hunt Hwy and turns north along Meridian Road.
Ironwood Road is in the new district four. This district is one of the largest in the state. It goes north through Apache Junction and Gold Canyon. It then cuts north of Phoenix and goes all the way to the California state line on the west and wanders all the way north around the Grand Canyon to the northwest corner of the state.
In the San Tan Valley area, almost all of us live in a piece of district four. There is a small piece of district one which intersects Hunt Hwy at Arizona Farms Road but for the most part all of Hunt Hwy and Florence are in district four.
That is where the easy part ends. The new Legislative districts get a little more complicated for our area. The Legislative districts affect who we elect to serve in the Arizona State Senate and State House of Representatives for two year terms at the State Capitol in Downtown Phoenix. We have the two year elections coming up this November so it is important that these maps get finalized as soon as possible.
The majority of residents in Pinal County will fall into the very large Legislative district eight. This district stretches from Globe and Miami in the east down to Oracle in the south, across to parts of Casa Grande, back up to San Tan Valley, and into the area just east of Gold Canyon. Queen Valley and Superior is also included in district eight.
Legislative district twelve is our neighbor to the northwest and encroaches into Pinal County. It includes all of Queen Creek (Maricopa County), the San Tan Regional Park area, and the more rural homes just south of San Tan Heights and west of Johnson Ranch. It appears that San Tan Flat restaurant is in LD 12 as is the Queen Creek Olive Mill, Schnepf Farms, and everyone northwest of the intersection of Gary and Empire.
Then to make it more interesting, district sixteen is our immediate neighbor to the north of San Tan Valley. District sixteen includes a piece of East Mesa, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, and all of Ironwood Road down past Banner Ironwood Hospital nearly to the railroad crossing at Pecan Creek.
You should become familiar with these new districts. Campaign signs will be up sooner than you realize and most of us commute through these areas on a daily basis. Whether you drive up Ellsworth or Ironwood, you will be seeing a lot of different names. Knowing which district you are in will save confusion. Plus you will be able to help your friends this fall.
For more information about the maps and to see interactive Google overlay maps, you can visit the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission website at http://azredistricting.org. The map links are located at http://azredistricting.org/Maps/Final-Maps/default.asp.
If you are interested in learning more about how these maps were created, I would recommend reading Steve Muratore's blog at http://stevemuratore.blogspot.com/. His political viewpoint is progressive, but his insight into the process was fascinating as he attended many of the meetings. If you have a recommendation of a detailed conservative viewpoint into the process, feel free to post links in the comments below. Not many people were following the process so there wasn't much written about it.