“Keep the Fifth Intact” Rally

A group led by former State Senator Steve Panagiotakos and Trinity EMS co-founder John Chemaly gathered yesterday at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center for a rally to keep the Fifth Congressional District intact in the upcoming redistricting process. With Congressional redistricting following close behind the every-ten-year Federal census, the threat to the Lowell-centric nature of the Fifth District is not a new one. Legislative redistricting committees contemplated obliterating the district ten years ago. Then, it was primarily due to widespread grass roots opposition to the plan that those doing the redistricting relented.

With the threat this year even more acute due to the Commonwealth’s loss of one of its ten Congressional seats, the “Keep the Fifth Intact” group hopes to pre-empt any such evisceration of the Fifth District. Besides Panagiotakos and Chemaly, speakers at yesterday’s rally included current Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, former Congressman and current UML Chancellor Marty Meehan, and State Senator Eileen Donoghue. The message shared repeatedly was the historic, industrial, and cultural ties create a commonality of interest among the communities that now comprise the Fifth and that commonality should be respected and kept intact.

The date everyone should circle on calendars is Monday, June 13. That is when the joint legislative committee on redistricting will come to the Fifth District to hold a public hearing. The event will he held at Lawrence High School, 70-71 North Parish Road in Lawrence. Testimony will begin at 6 pm. This is an opportunity for citizens to share with the redistricting committee the reasons why the Fifth should be kept intact. Supporters of the Fifth District are invited to gather at 4:30 pm that day outside Lawrence High School for a pre-hearing rally.

8 Responses to “Keep the Fifth Intact” Rally

  1. Publius says:

    Why should the 5th be saved more than any other district in Massachusetts? In fact, with Niki Tsongas being second from the bottom in seniority in the delegation it would be worse for Massachusetts, if she displaced one of the more senior members.

  2. Renee Aste says:

    I think it is sad we think about the seniority of the of representative, rather then the general interests within towns and cities. Why bother even have districts, if it is seniority and power is what matters? Representatives are not Senators, we have two chambers in Congress for a reason.

  3. DickH says:

    Whatever the system should be, it is what it is and the current Fifth District has Lowell at its center. To alter that would be detrimental to the city. To me, that’s a good enough reason to keep the Fifth intact.

  4. Renee Aste says:

    As much as I agree with you Dick, it seems though how do we get people in the suburbs to feel the same way? Let’s say I’m talking to a non-Democrat who thinks Lowell/Lawrence are just a tax payers waste of money.

  5. Corey says:

    Theoretically, all the districts are equally important. The question to me is, if the state was broken into nine geographically compact and economically/socially connected regions, what should they be? Boston alone is one (nearly 700,000 people in the city itself!), then the immediate Boston suburbs easily make a second (Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown, Brighton, Quincy, Newton, Medford alone is probably nearly at 700,000). The Merrimack Valley makes a third with Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, Methuen at 300,000 alone, the South Coast a fourth, Metro Worcester a fifth, Pioneer Valley a sixth. Those are our major metros. There is at least one other inside 128 (#7), especially on the North Shore to include Revere and Lynn and Gloucester, easily another inside 495 (8), and then a ninth district I’d imagine between the outer areas of Worcester and our western counties. If it’s fair to say the Merrimack Valley deserves a seat at the table, Tsongas, I believe, is the only representative in that geographical region.

  6. Corey says:

    Renee – why do we have to get them to agree? The day Westford legally allows housing for all the fry cooks who work on 110 is the day I respect their opinion as to what is a waste of taxpayer money. You can’t zone out poverty, rely on their labor, and then complain that the place where they live out of necessity isn’t worth your taxpayer dime.

  7. Arthur says:

    Every new district will have 727,514 residents . Lowell will be 14.6% of any new district based on population.
    Lowell does not vote as high a percentage of its population as do some towns .For example in 2008 , when Lowell had about 16.5% of the then district’s population it turned out only about 10.6% of the districtwide vote .
    Therefore , I do not think you can in fact construct a district in which Lowell is “the center” if that means a district in which Lowell’s interests are paramount .
    The key is to construct a district in which a majority of the voters share Lowell’s concerns .
    For example , the Boston Business Journal summarized a recent study that the two top zipcodes in the Commonwealth in terms of loss of value in real estate are 01851 and 01854. At the Rally , we were told that Lowell and Concord share a common interest in that the birthplaces of Thoreau and Kerouac provide it .I doubt that is the link that property owners in 01851 and 01854 find compelling .

  8. Renee Aste says:

    Corey, I agree with your frustration, but a Representative will also representive the suburban view point of a two acre minimum for housing. Believe me, affordable housing is some that’s an issue for me. Families do not need two bed/two bath, they need three bed/one bath, but that is what’s proposed in Westford.