Markey Joins His Colleagues in Overwhelmingly Passing New Redistricting Plan
(BOSTON) – On Tuesday, State Representative Christopher M. Markey and his colleagues in the House of Representatives approved, 151-3, a redistricting plan to create 160 new representative districts.
Specific changes to the Ninth Bristol District, which Markey represents, include the loss of precincts in Freetown and Lakeville and the gaining of another precinct in Ward 3 of New Bedford. The area of New Bedford that will be a part of the Ninth Bristol as of 2012 is similar to existing boundaries with some expansion into surrounding neighborhoods. Also, the City had previously reconstituted its wards and precincts in an effort to better meet the needs of its own changing demographics. The loss of Freetown and Lakeville made a lot of sense demographically, Markey said, but he added, “it has been a pleasure to work with both towns and serve their constituents. I’m confident that, with this new plan, their interests will continue to be served well. However, this legislation will not affect representation until after the 2012 elections, so I look forward to continuing that service to both communities.”
Maintaining the integrity of Dartmouth as part of one district was also an important part of the redistricting legislation relative to the Ninth Bristol, according to Markey. “There may come a time when the increased population of the town warrants that the Ninth Bristol becomes solely constituted by Dartmouth precincts,” Markey added, “but, at this time, the redistricting plan as outlined by this legislation works best for Dartmouth, New Bedford, and the region. Dartmouth was and will continue to be the focal point in the Ninth Bristol District, but the general interests of Dartmouth and the precincts in New Bedford are the same: public safety, education and, most importantly, economic development and jobs. In that regard, my priorities will not change.”
While Markey was pleased with the results, he was especially happy for the open, transparent process that brought them about. “You see overwhelming bipartisan support because of that open process. It wasn’t about politics, about hurting one representative or helping another, and it wasn’t about creating artificial and contrived borders. It was about providing the best opportunity for all of the citizens of the Commonwealth to be fairly represented,” he said. In addition to House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Markey credited the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting and, in particular, Representative Michael Moran who served as Chair for their exhaustive efforts. “The Committee heard over thirty hours of testimony from over 400 groups and individuals. This was another example of an open, transparent process working in the interests of the people, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” Markey added.
The plan also includes the following features:
• Twenty majority-minority districts
• Four majority Hispanic districts
• An incumbent-free district in Lawrence
• 3 majority Black districts