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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson has appointed to the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission a replacement for Rob Bishop, who abruptly resigned from the group earlier this week.
Logan Wilde, who previously served as the Utah commissioner of Agriculture and Food from 2020-2021 and as a state representative from 2017-2020, will replace Bishop on the commission, Wilson's office announced Friday.
"Although his tenure will be short, he brings a fresh outlook. I am grateful for his willingness to serve in this capacity and for his ongoing commitment to the people of Utah," Wilson said in a news release.
Wilson had said earlier this week that he wouldn't appoint a replacement for Bishop, but changed course. The commission has already chosen its final 12 maps, which include new alignments for Utah's four congressional districts, as well as state representative and school board districts. The group is scheduled to meet Monday with the Utah Legislative Redistricting Committee, which has the final say on which maps will be chosen.
Bishop resigned because he felt the commission wasn't properly balancing urban and rural areas of Utah in each of the four congressional districts.
"What I'm telling you is I am frustrated with this process and I'm frustrated with what I am hearing, frustrated with where we are going, because this commission is designed not to work," Bishop said during the commission's meeting Monday before he resigned. "I respect each of you as an individual, but I'm sorry, as a group we suck."
Other commissioners pushed back on that view, though.
"It has been hard, it has been challenging, but I think all of us can feel confident and satisfied as we make this presentation to the Legislature next Monday," Commissioner Karen Hale said.
Wilson pointed out that Wilde, who is from Morgan County, represents the viewpoints Bishop said the commission lacked.
"As a rural Utahn, Commissioner Wilde brings a unique perspective to the Independent Redistricting Commission," Wilson said.
Better Boundaries, the group that advocated for the creation of the redistricting commission before it passed on the 2018 ballot, criticized Wilde's appointment, saying there is not enough time for him to participate in the commission's business.
"Hmm. (The commission's) presentation is Monday at 2:00 pm," the group said in a tweet. "It will be difficult to digest 1,000 community of interest maps, more than 2,000 comments on draft maps, and hours and hours of recordings of public hearings and map drawing sessions."