A Saginaw resident has become a member of the new statewide redistricting commission.

The commission was formed after Michigan voters approved a state Constitutional amendment in a citizen’s proposal in 2018. The function of the commission is to draw state and Congressional districts every ten years, based on Census data. The idea behind the proposal was to eliminate partisan gerrymandering, which critics call a threat to democracy.

The commission is composed of 13 people from around the state: 4 Republicans, 4 Democrats and 5 independent voters. 9,000 people applied to the commission. The 13 were chosen by an independent accounting firm hired by the Michigan Secretary of State office.

73-year-old Richard Weiss, a white male, is one of the independent members. As to why he wanted to be on the commission, he says simply, “Because I am an American.”