This morning’s Globe reports that Massachusetts will lose a Congressional seat based on the expected results of the 2010 census, which would require redistricting before the 2012 elections.
My preference would be for an independent commission to handle redistricting, but I know that is not likely. (Look here for our current districts.) But how about some guidelines for the Legislature as it thinks about redistricting:
– Eliminate the Fourth District — This is currently Barney Frank’s district (N.B. — I’m not saying get rid of the Congressman, I’m saying change his district.) and it stretches from Newton (his hometown) down to Fall River and New Bedford. In a few spots, it appears to be about a mile wide. The district is too extended and lacks any sense of regional commonality of interests. (Hmmm, where have I seen such an elongated district before? Oh, that’s right.)
– Keep regional centers together — Two of Worcester’s contiguous communities are in a different district. Holyoke and Chicopee are in different districts. And the Boston-area is a hodgepodge — Medford, Lynn, Somerville, parts of Boston, and Quincy are each in a separate district. A good chunk of this diffusion is not driven by common sense but by protecting incumbents.
Its probably idealistic, but I think its worth considering how redistricting might make our congressional districts more representative (and easier to manage for our Congresspeople as well.)
Oh, and anyone care to comment on why we are losing population? Anyone?