Redistricting commission picks right chairwoman

A few weeks ago, we called on the commission that will draw boundaries for the state's 10th Congressional District to add an Eastern Washington member.

We didn't suggest anyone in particular, and it turns out we didn't need to. The panel came up with an excellent choice without our input.

The four members of the commission unanimously picked Lura Powell, the retired director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, to serve as the panel's nonvoting chairwoman.

Powell is eminently qualified for the job and brings a much-needed Eastern Washington perspective to the deliberations.

The panel's voting members -- two Republicans and two Democrats -- were appointed by the Legislature's four caucuses.

Part of Powell's strength is her reputation for nonpartisanship. The committee's gavel belongs in the hands of someone who isn't inclined to tip the balance in either direction.

The commission will hold public hearings across the state before drawing new maps by year's end. The final boundaries will require the approval of at least three commissioners.

The rules keep anything from happening without bipartisan support. It makes gerrymandering of Washington's political boundaries nearly impossible.

It's a good system made better by Powell's participation.