January 28, 2011 in City

Richland woman to lead redistricting commission

By The Spokesman-Review

OLYMPIA — Lura Powell of Richland was named chairwoman of the state Redistricting Commission this morning.

Powell, former director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was the unanimous choice of the four members who were each appointed by a legislative leader of one party from one chamber of the Legislature. She serves as the nonvoting leader of the commission, which will redraw the lines for Washington’s congressional and legislative districts based on the results of the 2010 Census.

Powell described herself as bipartisan — “I’ve had fundraisers for Democrats and Republicans” — but not a political junkie.

“I’ve found working with the legislative process to be fascinating,” she said.

She’s an analytical chemist, a retired federal worker and currently serves on the board of the Life Sciences Discovery Fund. To complaints that the board appointed by the legislative “four corners” were all male and all from Western Washington, she acknowledged that she’s “a two-fer.” She’s a woman from Eastern Washington. And she has experience running boards and commissions.

“Will everybody always agree on everything? Probably not,” she said. “You wouldn’t want to rubber stamp everything.”

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