State Republican Chairman Jay Webber on Friday named the five people who will represent the party on the Legislative Apportionment Commission, the bipartisan panel that will redraw the New Jersey's 40 state's legislative districts based on the results of the 2010 U.S. Census.
Webber, an Assemblyman from Morris County, appointed himself chairman of the Republican representatives. Joining him on the panel will be state Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-Essex) of Cedar Grove, Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore of Tom River, Bill Palatucci of Westfield, the state's Republican national committeeman, and lawyer Irene Kim Asbury of Jersey City, a member of the Republican State Committee who ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly in Hudson County last year. Palatucci is a close friend and political advisor to Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
"Our members are eager to begin the process of working with the residents of this great state and our Democrat colleagues to create an apportionment plan that fairly represents our state's diverse and growing population and adheres to our Constitution," Webber said. "The Republican members of this commission place a premium on input from and participation by the public in this process. With that in mind, we call on our Democrat colleagues on the Commission to join us in immediately setting a schedule for public hearings to encourage and receive those vital contributions from the public."
Each party appoints five members to the commission, which until the Feb. 1 after the census figures are revealed to create a new map for the next decade. If they deadlock — which has happened the last three decades — state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner will appoint a "tie-breaker" member.
The Democrats have chosen as their representatives State Chairman John Wisniewski, an assemblyman from Middlesex County; Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union), Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex); state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), and former Camden County Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez.
Both Webber and Wisniewski said they want public hearings on the redistricting.