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Citizens chosen for bipartisan redistricting panel

(AP) A panel of judges has selected eight citizens who will join eight legislators on a bipartisan commission that will redraw Virginia’s legislative boundaries for the next decade.

A referendum approved by voters in November creates the 16-member commission to draw lines for Virginia’s seats in Congress and the General Assembly.

The judges selected four names each from lists submitted by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders.

The panel of judges was tasked under the law with selecting members to reflect racial, ethnic, gender and geographical diversity.

Six of the eight are men. The panel includes African American, Hispanic, Asian American and biracial members.

The judges made sure to include representatives from Southside and far southwest Virginia — areas that may well lose representation because of population surges in northern Virginia — but no applicants from the Shenandoah Valley and Roanoke area were selected.

The Roanoke area will have representation on the panel from Lynchburg Republican Steve Newman, who is one of the eight legislators already appointed to the commission.

The eight citizens chosen by the judges at Tuesday’s meeting are Greta Harris, Richmond; Sean Kumar, Alexandria; Mackenzie Babichenko, Mechanicsville; Jose A. Feliciano, Jr., Fredericksburg; James Abrenio, Fairfax; Brandon Hutchins, Virginia Beach; Marvin Gilliam, Bristol; and Richard Harrell, South Boston.

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