Barnstable would be reunited on new district map

By Marjorie NesinCape Cod Times

Oct. 18, 2011

BOSTON – Barnstable would be reunited under one state Senate district under a redistricting plan released on Tuesday by the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting.

Sen. Daniel A. Wolf, D-Harwich, said the shift of three districts on the Cape due to a drop in population would have no major political impact on next year’s election.

“From a state Senate standpoint it’s pretty minor stuff…it reunites Barnstable, so it’s good news for the Cape,” he said in a telephone interview.

Rejoining municipalities that were previously split was a goal of the redistricting committee, committee chairman Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, D-Amherst told a Statehouse news conference. He said 92 percent of Massachusetts residents have remained within the same voting district that they have been part of for the last 10 years.

Because of population decline in Barnstable County, precincts 10, 11 and 12 were shifted from Senate President Therese Murray’s Plymouth District to Wolf’s Barnstable district.

“Plymouth has grown in population so she could afford to lose a few seats,” Wolf said. Murray’s Senate district is still within the range for the ideal number of residents, which is 640,000. The changes in the Barnstable district increased its population by about 10,000 people, settling at169,000 residents, according to Wolf.

Population numbers from the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau set the criteria for the proposed changes. The maps will be open to public discussion for seven days before the Senate votes.

The Massachusetts Constitution requires the House, Senate, Governor’s Council and congressional district boundaries to be reexamined and changed in line with each decade’s national census.

A map of the congressional districts will be released in the coming weeks. Massachusetts will be downsizing from 10 congressional districts to nine.

Once the new boundaries are approved by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, they will become effective for the 2012 election cycle.

Senate President Therese Murray was not available for comment Tuesday evening.

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