By Max Bowenemail@example.com
A proposal to balance the House and Senate districts would lead to new faces representing several communities.
The State Joint Committee on Redistricting unveiled the proposal at its Oct. 12 meeting. Following a public comment period, it will go before the Legislature and Governor for final approval.
Rep. Michael Moran, who chairs the House members on the committee, said the proposed changes to the districts came about following the 2020 Census. The state’s population increased from 6.5 million in 2010 to a little over 7 million, and demographics also saw a significant change. The white population decreased by 7 percent, while the number of black residents increased by almost 17 percent. The Asian and Hispanic populations also increased, by 45 and 41 percent, respectively. Moran said the redistricting shows a more accurate face of the changing population.
“These populations reflect the diversity of the Commonwealth and the changing faces of Massachusetts,” said Moran at the Oct. 12 hearing.
Along with creating districts equal in size and representation of the demographics, the process also sought to lower the number of communities where portions had different legislators. Sen. William Brownsberger chairs the Senate members and said that current districts show 21 split communities, while the proposal shows 10, one of which is new. He said that on the Senate level, around 20 percent of voters would have a new senator.
“Many voters will need to work with a new senator,” said Brownsberger.
State Rep. Adam Scanlon represents North Attleborough along with portions of Mansfield and Attleboro, and this won’t be affected by the redistricting.
Sen. Becca Rausch, however, would lose the portions of Wellesley, Natick, and Attleboro that she represents, along with the towns of North Attleborough and Wayland. The proposal would have her represent Bellingham, Dover, and Medfield. Milford would also be added, which would add Worcester County to those she represents.
State Sen. Paul Feeney would gain North Attleborough and Rausch’s sections of Attleboro in the proposal, along with Canton. The proposal would mean he would no longer represent Rehoboth, Seekonk, Medfield, and Walpole.
“We sought to not district based on race and seek equal protection for all races,” said Brownsberger. “We will make sure each minority can vote for the representative of their choice.”