116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Davenport attorney has been appointed to serve on a state commission that will conduct public hearings about new maps that will be drawn for legislative and congressional districts later this year.
Jazmin Newton will replace Deidre DeJear of Des Moines on the Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission, Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls said Tuesday.
DeJear was the first African American to win a primary for statewide office in predominantly white Iowa when she was chosen as the Democrat in June 2018 to run against incumbent Republican Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, who went on to win reelection.
DeJear's nomination that year elevated her as an Iowa political force when she drew the attention of Democratic presidential candidates, including Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.
A spokeswoman declined to confirm that DeJear is considering a run for Iowa governor in 2022, saying Tuesday she was not prepared to comment on DeJear’s reason for leaving the commission.
Newton said she is committed to ensuring Iowans have fair maps for legislative and congressional districts.
“The Iowa system is based on a simple principle: politicians in Des Moines shouldn’t pick their voters. I look forward to serving on the commission and listening to the feedback of Iowans when the new maps are drawn,” she said.
Newton will join Democratic appointee Ian Russell, an attorney from Bettendorf, and Republican appointees David Roederer, the retired state budget director, Chris Hagenow, a lawyer and former state legislator.
Commission members met in February and March but could not agree on their first task of appointing a fifth member and naming a chairman. The group is required under state law to hold three public hearings and file a report on the input of Iowans on the proposed redistricting map drawn up by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Bureau and submitted to the Legislature. That process has been delayed this year because the U.S. Census Bureau said it will not have final detailed population data for states until late August.