IMPERIAL COUNTY — Imperial County will see changes in representational leadership and new neighbors in newly redrawn districts as part of the 2021 redistricting process. 

“Redistricting is a process that is completed every 10 years, shortly after the US Census is completed,” said Imperial County Intergovernmental Relations Director Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter. “State and local governments must complete the process. They utilize the most recent US Census data to redraw political divisions to reflect how local populations changed over the past 10 years.”

Terrazas-Baxter first revealed the redrawn district lines to the Imperial County Board of Supervisors late last month. 

“Last month, on December 26, 2021, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved final maps for the state’s Board of Equalization, Congressional, Senate, and Assembly districts. The Commission drew four Board of Equalization districts, 52 Congressional districts, 40 Senatorial districts, and 80 Assembly districts,” said Terrazas-Baxter.

Terrazas-Baxter said Imperial County would no longer share a congressional district with San Diego. There were also massive changes up and down the delegation that represents the County in the various legislatures. 

“The biggest change to our representative delegation will be in our congressional representation. Imperial County no longer shares a congressional district with San Diego County and its district has been moved to encompass much of Riverside County and a small portion of San Bernardino County; therefore the 51st Congressional District, currently represented by Congressman Juan Vargas, will no longer include Imperial County. Instead, Imperial County is now part of the 25th Congressional District,” said Terrazas-Baxter.

Vargas will continue to represent the district until the changes take effect in early 2023 after the midterm congressional races conclude and a new congress person is sworn in. 

“Congressman Vargas will remain our congressman until the end of this year. The new district boundaries go into effect this year for election purposes, but in terms of representation purposes, it will go into effect next year when the new Congress and Legislature is sworn into office,” said Terrazas-Baxter.

While Imperial County and San Diego County are no longer grouped together as a congressional district, she said portions of San Diego will still remain with Imperial in the California State Senate district. 

“The Senate district that previously encompassed Imperial County, the 40th Senate District, currently represented by Senator Ben Hueso, will be the 18th Senate District, which will include all of Imperial County and portions of San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. Senator Hueso is termed out and cannot run for reelection, therefore Imperial County will have new representation at the State Senate as well,” said Terrazas-Baxter.

Terrazas-Baxter said similar changes were made the State Assembly district for Imperial County and will be linked with San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. 

 “The 56th Assembly District, currently represented by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, has now become the 36th Assembly District. Portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties were included in this district,” said Terrazas-Baxter.

Terrazas-Baxter said March 11, is the deadline for candidates to declare candidacy and file the required paperwork.

“The results of this year's election will inform Imperial County of its congressional and state legislative representation,” said Terrazas-Baxter.

Terrazas-Baxter said ultimately it was determined that the needs and interests of Imperial County were too similar to the portions of Riverside and San Bernardino’s counties to not be grouped together. 

“It’s important to keep your community as whole as possible but to also be grouped with neighboring communities with similar interests. Essentially, if you are grouped with communities of similar interest, then there is a higher likelihood that the district will elect a representative that will closely represent the interests of the constituency,” said Terrazas-Baxter.

She said the decision for why the district maps changed is a result of all the input that was received from Imperial County residents.

“Throughout the redistricting process, the Commission heard from the public to identify communities of interest and to receive suggestions and recommendations regarding mapping. By the end of the process, it is evident that they felt it would be beneficial to group Imperial County with Riverside and San Bernardino counties as opposed to San Diego County in the Congressional district,” said Terrazas-Baxter. 

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