AIRC chair Colleen Coyle Mathis issued this statement in response to Herrera's announcement:
I thank Mr. Herrera for his service on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and his family for their many sacrifices. He served the citizens of Arizona with honor, dignity and dedication. I wish him well and will miss his energy, humor and passion.
This Commission is made up of unpaid volunteers who have busy lives. After a map drawing phase which included extensive input from citizens all over the state, Arizona received U.S. Department of Justice preclearance for both of its maps on the first try in April 2012. Despite this historic achievement, the time commitment to date and stresses associated with ongoing litigation have been significant.Herrera's resignation sets in motion a Constitutional process for identifying a replacement.
(11) If a commissioner or chair does not complete the term of office for any reason, the commission on appellate court appointments or its designee shall nominate a pool of three candidates within the first thirty days after the vacancy occurs. The nominees shall be of the same political party or status as was the member who vacated the office at the time of his or her appointment, and the appointment other than the chair shall be made by the current holder of the office designated to make the original appointment. The appointment of a new chair shall be made by the remaining commissioners. If the appointment of a replacement commissioner or chair is not made within fourteen days following the presentation of the nominees, the commission on appellate court appointments or its designee shall make the appointment, striving for political balance and fairness. The newly appointed commissioner shall serve out the remainder of the original term.Herrera's resignation also throws a potential kink in a prospective process, should the federal court ruling in Harris et al v AIRC (expected soon) require any changes to the legislative district map.