Margot Spindola has seen the city of Pasco change over time, becoming less white and increasingly Latino.
What hasn’t changed as much, she said, is the whiteness of the area’s political representation, both at the state level and in Congress.
Spindola, who went to high school in Pasco and also worked there as an adult, is a lead organizer of a group working to increase Latino political representation across Washington state. Her advocacy is part of a push this year to ensure that communities of color are prioritized in the state’s once-a-decade political redistricting process, which is now well underway.
To Spindola, that means ensuring that communities of color aren’t split among several different political districts, diluting their power as a voting bloc. Too often in the past, she said, the state’s bipartisan Redistricting Commission has focused on safeguarding the seats of incumbent politicians, rather than making the Legislature and Congress better reflect communities around Washington.
“We need to stop focusing on preserving incumbents, and start looking at communities of interest — and how we are disenfranchising Latinx communities and communities of color in general,” said Spindola, a lead organizer of the Redistricting Justice for Washington coalition.