Redistricting plan leaves Marlborough divided
The 4th Middlesex district has yet another new shape, following a vote by the Legislature’s redistricting committee that changed two other House districts but left the rest of its plan for the state’s new legislative map intact.
“It doesn’t make a big difference,” said Rep. Steven Levy, R-Marlborough, who was elected to represent the 4th Middlesex in 2010. “They still decided to keep Marlborough split.”
Yesterday, the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting approved several changes to the first draft map released on Oct. 18. The changes reflect the feedback the committee received in the form of 160 emails, 100 phone calls, and numerous office meetings, House Chairman Michael Moran, D-Brighton, said.
Levy said his constituents were especially vocal about their dislike of the redrawn district, which is quite different from the district boundaries he was elected to represent. Only the two-thirds of Marlborough remain from the original district map.
“The way they’re looking at it is they elected me to be their representative, and even though these (new maps) don’t take effect until 2013, they still feel like their representative is being taken away because for some of them, I won’t even be on their ballot,” said Levy.
Last week, Levy submitted a redrawn map to the committee that he says leaves more towns intact and keeps more people living in their original district, but no aspects of his map appeared in the version voted on by the committee.
Levy plans to submit his map to the House as an amendment, as well as some “last resort” amendments that would reunite Marlborough or bring Marlborough and Berlin back together.
Levy said the committee received complaints from Berlin residents and a resolution from the Marlborough City Council that it wants to remain within the 4th District.
The first draft of the House redistricting map changed the 4th Middlesex, which had encompassed all of Berlin and Marlborough and an eastern portion of Southborough. Under the committee’s plan, it would contain western and southeast Marlborough, southern Northborough and central Westborough.
At yesterday’s meeting, the committee proposed giving the 4th Middlesex the western two-thirds of Marlborough and giving the eastern third of the city to the 13th Middlesex.
Committee member, Rep. Bradley Jones, Jr., R-North Reading, explained at the meeting that the changes to Marlborough were an attempt to make the district more compact.
The committee approved two other changes, moving the town of Plainfield back to the 1st Franklin District and a heavily Latino-populated Cambridge precinct back to the 2nd Suffolk District.
The committee also made a few changes to the Senate map, moving a majority-minority precinct into Dorchester and Mattapan into the 2nd Suffolk District.
The Senate map was passed unanimously while the House map had one dissenter, Rep. Brad Hill, R-Ipswich. Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, did not vote on the House map.
The maps now go to the House and Senate for amendments and approval and then on to Gov. Deval Patrick. Patrick must approve them Nov. 6 so candidates can fulfill the one-year residence requirement to run for office.