BOSTON (AFP) – State lawmakers released a proposed new map of Massachusetts’ congressional districts on Monday.
The map avoids any large-scale, dramatic shifts in district lines, in large part because the state maintains the same number of congressional districts—nine. This avoids the need to combine districts and may force incumbent lawmakers to confront each other.
One point of contention came in the state’s 4th congressional district, which is currently controlled by Democratic U.S. Representative Jake Oshinkloss.
The Drawing Democracy Alliance, an umbrella group of advocacy organizations, miscalculated the map for failing to bring together Fall River and New Bedford in the same area.
The group argued that similar immigrant communities in the two cities should be placed in the same area to increase their political influence and provide a better opportunity for voters there to elect candidates of their choice.
While the map proposed by the Legislature unites Fall River, it places the entire city in District 4 and keeps New Bedford in District IX. As a result, the group said, Fall River residents may continue to see their voting power erode due to wealthier Boston suburbs, such as Brooklyn, Newton and Wellesley.
“The Coalition for Social Justice and Drawing Democracy spoke with many members of the community about redistricting, and we heard loud and clear that they didn’t want Fall River divided between two congressional districts, and that they wanted Fall River and New Bedford to be Fall River and New Bedford,” said Dax Crocker, the Center for Democracy coordinator. of the Coalition for Social Justice, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Democratic Drawing Coalition.
Auchincloss welcomed the proposed new congressional district lines.
“Although Zone 4’s baselines remain, there is one major change,” Uchenkloss said in a written statement. “I am thrilled that Fall River will now be in the area.”
Auchincloss said he has worked with local officials and state lawmakers to ensure Fall River returns from the pandemic.
Group D voters will continue to come from urban, suburban, and farm communities. They will continue to vote in blue and red. “They will continue to travel to both Boston and Providence,” he said.
The map will also increase the proportion of people of color living in the state’s 7th congressional district, which is currently represented by the delegation’s only black member, U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley.
The redesigned district, created after the 2010 census, was intended to contain the majority of minority voters. It was previously represented by US Representative Michael Capuano until Presley defeated him in 2018.
All nine members of the state’s congressional delegation are Democrats.
Ten years ago, the state was forced to cut 10 counties down to nine, a fate averted this time when Massachusetts reported growing enough population — to just over 7 million — to hold all nine seats.
One of the goals of the Joint Special Committee on Redistricting. Which came up with the proposed map, is to make each district have the same number of people – about 781,100 per district.
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