MADISON —A Hayward area resident, Jason Bisonette, is one of nine people selected to serve on the People's Maps Commission, a nonpartisan redistricting commission charged with drawing fair, impartial maps based on 2020 U.S. Census data.
> Jason Bisonette will represent the 7th Congressional District. Bisonette is the dean of students for the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe K-12 tribal school on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation and is the board chair for the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College.
In January, Gov. Tony Evers signed Executive Order #66 creating the Commission following his 2020 State of the State Address.
“When elected officials are able to ignore the people they represent time and time again, something’s wrong, folks,” said Evers. “I am grateful for Justice Geske, Judge Troy, and Judge Higginbotham who have selected a diverse, talented, and energetic group of folks who are going to lead the way on fair maps for Wisconsin. These nine Wisconsinites have stepped up to serve their neighbors and communities across our state. They won’t answer to any elected officials, candidates, or political parties—they're going to be listening to people in every corner of our state to ensure Wisconsin’s next maps will truly belong to the people, not politicians.”
Fifty-four of Wisconsin's 72 counties encompassing more than 80% of Wisconsin's population have passed resolutions or referenda supporting nonpartisan redistricting. According to a Marquette University Law School Poll, more than 70% of Wisconsinites prefer a nonpartisan commission conduct redistricting.
Although nonpartisan redistricting proposals have been introduced in the Legislature for several legislative biennia – and have even received bipartisan support – none of those proposals have passed the Republican-controlled Legislature. The governor’s proposed 2019-21 biennial budget included a nonpartisan redistricting proposal that was ultimately removed by Republicans during the Joint Finance Committee process.
In July, Gov. Evers announced the application process to serve on the Commission and that a panel of three retired judges—Justice Janine Geske, Judge Joseph Troy, and Judge Paul Higginbotham—would review and select commission members to ensure fairness and impartiality in the application process.
The nine commission members were selected from a pool of 270 eligible applicants. Under Executive Order #66, commission members cannot be lobbyists, political candidates, state or local officials, or officers or members of the governing body of a political party.
The Commission will hold at least eight hearings across the state to listen to experts and Wisconsinites alike regarding redistricting, why it matters, and how it works. Following the release of data from of the 2020 U.S. Census, the Commission will use the information gathered during the public hearing process to prepare maps for the Legislature’s consideration. It will be up to the Legislature to take up and pass the maps created by The People’s Maps Commission. Selected members of the People’s Maps Commission are:
> Elizabeth Tobias, of Racine, will represent the 1st Congressional District. Tobias is the executive assistant to the Board of Education for the Racine Unified School District. Tobias is a member of the Wisconsin Association of School Superintendents and the American Society of Administrative Professionals.
> Ruben Anthony, Jr., of Middleton, will represent the 2nd Congressional District. Anthony is the current president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison and previously served the Wisconsin Department of Transportation under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
> Annemarie McClellan, of Menomonie, will be representing the 3rd Congressional District. McClellan is currently enjoying her retirement after a career in manufacturing and clinical research. She is currently the co-president of her local chapter of the League of Women Voters and has served as a poll worker and election observer.
> Christopher Ford, of Whitefish Bay, will represent the 4th Congressional District. Ford is an emergency physician serving one of the one of the highest COVID-19 prevalence populations in the state. He is a member of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, Emergency Medicine Residents Association, and an advisory board member of the Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services for Children.
> Benjamin Rangel, of Milwaukee, will represent the 4th Congressional District. Rangel is a high school teacher in Milwaukee, teaching government and history. He is the managing editor of Bridge the City and previously worked as a development coordinator for City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps.
> Susan Ranft, of Wauwatosa, will represent the 5th Congressional District. Ranft is the vice president, Global Human Resources for Manpower Group, previously served as the president and member of the Governance Board of the Wauwatosa STEM Elementary School, and is an active member of TEMPO Milwaukee.
> Melissa Prentice, of Sheboygan, will represent the 6th Congressional District. She is a librarian and public services manager for the city of Sheboygan at Mead Public Library. Prentice has been involved with the Wisconsin Library Association, her local chapter of the League of Women Voters, and was the library representative for the city of Sheboygan DIEB initiative working on diversity and inclusion.
> Anthony Phillips, of Appleton, will represent the 8th Congressional District. Phillips is a physician with Theda Care Hematology and Oncology and has been involved with several grassroots organizations working on election and campaign issues, including Fair Maps Wisconsin and Voters First WI.
Due to COVID-19, the People's Maps Commission will host virtual public hearings for each of Wisconsin's congressional districts. Agendas and additional details will be announced in advance of meeting dates. The hearing dates are as follows:
> Thursday, October 1, 2020, 8th Congressional District
> Thursday, October 29, 2020, 5th Congressional District
> Thursday, November 19, 2020, 3rd Congressional District
> Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 4th Congressional District
> January hearing date TBD, 7th Congressional District
> February hearing date TBD, 1st Congressional District
> March hearing date TBD, 6th Congressional District
> April hearing date TBD, 2nd Congressional District