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The 1960s: 1965

Dean Foster Video Interview

Dean Foster, who served for many years as the Chief Clerk of the House, worked early in his career as an assistant to Senator Bob Greive during the redistricting battles of the 1960s. Then, more recently, the Senate Democratic leadership selected Foster as a member of the 2001 Redistricting Commission. Foster is in a unique position to provide commentary on the process of legislative redistricting and to compare it with the commission system that was instituted by constitutional amendment in 1983. This interview was conducted by Sharon Boswell and filmed by Grace Spencer in February 2002.

While still in college, Dean Foster served as an assistant to Democratic majority leader, Bob Greive, in the redistricting battles of the 1960s. Foster worked with Senator Greive to interview incumbent legislators and map the proposed boundaries of each district in the state. Foster responds to a question about the process the Democrats used to organize the huge amount of data they accumulated and map the shifting boundaries of redistricting.

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Before the widespread use of computers, redistricting staff members relied on calculators and their memories to keep track of the huge amounts of data. Interviewer Sharon Boswell asks Dean Foster to comment on the methods used to track changes in district boundaries and organize so much statistical information.

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The discussions between Republicans and Democrats over specific redistricting proposals often became a strategic game. Dean Foster responds to questions about the "us versus them" mentality of the redistricting negotiations between party leaders and staff.

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Redistricting was serious business and Dean Foster reacts to the idea of any "humor" in the process.

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The political parties each approached the redistricting process with a different philosophy of how to accomplish their goals. Dean Foster comments on how the strategies used by Democrats in their redistricting efforts.

View video excerpt #5 »


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