Mass. Minorities Praise District Redraw Plans
October 19, 2011
by Chris Cassidy
Leaders of the state's minority communities heralded yesterday's redistricting plan as a long-awaited victory that creates more legislative districts across the Bay State, where racial minorities make up a majority of voters, and may encourage more candidates to run for office.
"Ten years ago we really felt as though we were operating in isolation," said Malia Lazu of The Drawing Democracy Project. "Massachusetts gained in population of color, so it makes sense our districts reflect that. ... The bigger question, are we ready to run people and win? We'll see, but it's great to know you have a fighting chance."
Overall, the House increased the number of minority-majority districts from 10 to 20, under the newly unveiled plan, with three in the Senate.
Senate President Therese Murray, who beat out challenger Tom Keyes by only 4 percentage points in 2010, shed precincts in Barnstable and Plympton from her district that Keyes won last November, noted Stonehill College professor Peter Ubertaccio.
"They're pretty small, but she only just eked out a victory last time," Ubertaccio said.
Four incumbents would have faced the prospect of running against each other to keep their political careers alive. Those are Rep. Paul W. Mark (D-Hancock) and Gailanne M. Cariddi (D-North Adams) in Berkshire County and Paul Adams (R-Andover) and James J. Lyons Jr. (R-Andover).
But both Mark and Adams told the Herald they were planning to move in the next few weeks to maintain their residency requirement in their current district.
The redistricting committee, led by state Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg (D-Amherst), and state Rep. Michael Moran (D-Brighton), also has the tall task of reducing the Bay State's congressional districts from 10 to 9 - a proposal expected in a matter of weeks, Rosenberg said.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.