The Globe has a story by Mark Arsenault speculating that the First Congressional District, which covers close to one-third of the entire geographic area of the Commonwealth and stretches from the New York border to nearby Pepperell and Townsend is the most likely candidate for dismemberment in this year’s Congressional redistricting despite the seat being held by Democrat John Olver for more than twenty years. The Globe’s rationale seems to be Olver’s age (74) and the illogical geography of the district (populous Springfield is right in the middle of it but belongs to another district – the 2nd – held by Richard Neal.
I suspect the Globe might be allowing its eastern Massachusetts bias to be influencing its coverage a bit. Barney Frank is close in age to Olver and the Congressional Districts around Boston aren’t models of logic. The Globe also seems to discount the presence of Stan Rosenberg, an Olver protege and friend, as the chair of the State Senate’s redistricting committee. I’m not being critical of the Globe coverage – just pointing out a different perspective. Of course, one potential Globe bias I would never criticize is one in favor of the Merrimack Valley. With all the Lowell Sun alumni – Arsenault, Glen Johnson, Brian Mooney, Frank Phillips, anyone else? – contributing to its political coverage, the Fifth Congressional District should get a fair hearing in the Boston media.
2 Responses to Congressional Redistricting
Here’s a link to a story in the “Springfield Republican” with a bit of a different spin on the redistricting story. Also conventional wisdom would have it that Senator Rosenburg is himself interested in again following in Olver’s footstep by succeeding him in the US Congress. There also some sidebar stories with cooments from other western Mass politicos.
The 4th is probably the oddest shaped, but the 1st is spread out and I don’t think two western Congressmen makes sense even now. It will make less sense with only nine seats. Closer to home I think making the Merrimack Valley a single district makes geographic sense, but I’m also intrigued by the suggestion of having a “District of the Two Revolutions”, the Industrial in the north and the American in the south.