Let the Redistricting Games Begin – Oops They Have Begun

One is a high-ranking member of the  powerful House Appropriations Committee while the other claims a similar status on the equally important Ways and Means Committee. Representative John Olver of Amherst and Representative Richie Neal of Springfield have made it clear – they are running for reelection come 2012. These declarations make their intentions clear in the face of the likely loss of a Massachusetts seat after the official calculations of 2010 Census data. Redistricting the Commonwealth from ten to nine districts with ten incumbent members will be a challenge. There were rumors that  the 74 year old Olver – whose district  of over 100 communities currently covers 40% of the state  touching  the NY/CT/Vermont/NH borders  from Pittsfield to Pepperell – might retire. Not so. Although they will be in the minority for the 112th Congress – others in the delegation see their own uniqueness and power and apparantly will run for reelection. Barney Frank will still hold a ranking status on the Financial Services Committee; Ed Markey holds sway in the Environment and Techology areas; Niki Tsongas who sits on the strategic Armed Services Committee while only in office since 2007 is the only woman in the delegation. Still there are other possibilities. Will Michael Capuano lessen the redistricting tension and seek the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in a run against Scott Brown in 2012?

Despite calls for an independent redistricting commission, the legislative leadership feels confident in the ability of the state Senate and House to complete the task. Senator Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst  and Rep Michael Moran, D-Boston are in charge and have promised full transparency during the process with plans to  holding hearings in each congressional district and an accessible-to-the-public informational web-site. All General Court districts as well as the congressional districts are subject to redistricting.

The official Census results will be revealed on Tuesday. Remember this as this process rolls out – the notorius term “gerrymandering” was born here in Massachusetts when in 1812  Governor Elbridge Gerry and his legislative minions created a contorted but politically friendly state senate district from Chelsea to Salisbury that looked more like a salamander than a coherent district. The rest is history. We’ll be following the process with great interest – remembering what nearly happened to the Fifth Congressional District when Speaker Finneran approved eliminating the district as we knew it and the fight that ensued. And that was without the loss a a seat!

Stay tuned.

Check out the redistricting article in the Patriot Ledger here and today’s Boston Herald “Local Politics” here.

2 Responses to Let the Redistricting Games Begin – Oops They Have Begun

  1. C R Krieger says:

    “the legislative leadership feels confident in the ability of the state Senate and House to complete the task.”

    I bet they felt that way back in 2001, when they drove Carol Clevin from office.  The Speaker probably thought there were just too many Republicans holding House seats.  I am sure they will gerrymander on.

    In the mean time, I envy the state where they do it with software, getting actual compact districts.  Has anyone else heard the latest, which is that minority majority districts actually restrict the number of minorities in legislatures?  Life is full of good intentions gone wrong.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  2. right wing says:

    senator rosenberg used to work for oliver.he is not going to carve up a congressional district he plans on running for in the 2014 election cycle.the greatest loss of population is south east coast and north shore look for these two areas to absorb the cut.from a republican point of view this is great news.one less democrat in congress and one less electoral vote to re-elect the president.a silver lining to the november election.