House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, announced today that he’s appointed Nicole Borromeo to the Alaska Redistricting Board. She is the fourth announced appointee to the high-stakes board tasked with redrawing Alaska’s legislative districts.
Borromeo, an Alaska Native from McGrath, is the executive vice president and general counsel of the Alaska Federation of Natives, a position she has held since 2014. According to the announcement, Borromeo’s work has included voting rights and she worked for the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
“I am pleased Ms. Borromeo has agreed to serve on the Redistricting Board,” Edgmon said in a prepared statement. “As an Alaska Native her roots run deep in the Native community and rural Alaska, but she is an Alaskan first and foremost and will do her best to fairly represent the interests of the entire state.”
The Alaska Redistricting Board redraws legislative districts every 10 years based on the results of the census. It is a politically loaded process where major—but more frequently minor—tweaks can dramatically change the representation in Juneau. The last process saw several Democratic senators lose their seats to conservative Republicans.
Rural Alaska has frequently been wrapped up in those efforts. In the map used in the 2012 elections, a Fairbanks-area district was stretched to the Bering Sea in an effort to pack Alaska Native voters with urban Democrats. That plan was ultimately reversed under the U.S. Voting Rights Act, which has since been gutted.
In a prepared statement, Borromeo said she’s interested in pursuing a fair and equal plan for the maps.
“As a non-partisan voter, I am committed to developing a non-partisan plan, resulting in equal voting power and fair representation for all Alaskans,” she said.
The five-member Alaska Redistricting Board is appointed in order of two by the governor, one by the Senate president, one by the House speaker and one by the Alaska Supreme Court chief justice.
Borromeo will join three Republicans already appointed to the board. Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday appointed Bethany Marcum, the executive director of the conservative Alaska Policy Forum, and Budd Simpson of Juneau, a lawyer who has served as outside counsel to the Sealaska Corporation. Senate President Cathy Giessel appointed Fairbanks businessman John Binkley, whose family owns the Anchorage Daily News and who chairs a group opposing Dunleavy’s recall, to the board on Wednesday.