“We suck,” Bishop says as he quits redistricting commission

SALT LAKE CITY — At a meeting of the Independent Redistricting Commission on Monday, former Park City Congressman Rob Bishop resigned from the group mid-meeting because he felt they were favoring urban areas.

“If there’s a minority party with 30% of the vote, it should tell them that three-fourths of the state is not agreeing with them and they should change their method somewhere,” Bishop said. “Instead there are groups out there that want this commission to do it for them.”

“I respect each of you as an individual. But I’m sorry as a group we suck. And part of that is simply the way this has been organized. This is a metro-centric group. When five of the seven are from the Wasatch Front, three of the five, the majority are from Salt Lake County, we see things in a different way,” he said. “It’s frustrating and for me, I can’t take this anymore. I’m going to make things easy for you. I’m going to resign now.”

Bishop, a Republican, represented Utah’s 1st congressional district — which covers Park City and Summit County — from 2003 to 2021. He was succeeded by current congressman Blake Moore.

“Despite some rhetoric to the contrary, the Independent Commission has representatives from rural and urban Utah, reflecting proportionally the population of Utah. We applaud the bipartisan effort of the six commissioners, appointed by three republicans and three democrats, to adhere to the standards and criteria of the statute and congratulate them on their unanimous approval of twelve maps that prioritize representing all Utahns,” said Katie Wright, executive director of Better Boundaries, a nonprofit focused on combating gerrymandering. “Their work benefited all Utahns and deserve our respect.”

Utah passed a ballot measure in 2018 that created the Legislative Redistricting Committee — which lets citizens draw their own map and submit them to the committee.

“These are recommendations we can consider. I don’t think Congressman Bishop’s abrupt resignation changes that. I do think it shines a bright light that maybe this isn’t working the way it was envisioned to,” said Brad Wilson, the Republican speaker of the Utah House of Representatives.

According to a 2016 study by the Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, Utah has the 9th highest urban population in the nation at 90.6%. Over 75% of Utah’s population is concentrated in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, and Weber Counties.

Republicans fully control the congressional redistricting process in Utah. The Republican state legislature can modify or reject the committee’s proposals. The final map must be passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox.

You May Also Like
TownLift Is Brought To You In Part By These Presenting Partners.

Add Your Organization