Last year it was easy to predict that casino gambling legislation and the ultimate decision (or non-decision, as it turned out) not to go forward with casinos in the state would be one of the biggest stories of the year.
This year, based on the publicity that it has already received, the resetting of our state’s U.S. Congressional districts looms as one of the stories that people will be watching.
Due to Massachusetts’ declining population as determined by the 2010 Census, the state will lose one of our 10 congressional seats in the 2012 elections. Already, Congressman Barney Frank has announced that he will be seeking re-election, which in another time would be an unusual announcement coming just a few weeks after taking office for another term in Congress. But Congressman Frank is basically telling his colleagues and the Massachusetts legislators, whose job it is to redistrict, “I won’t be retiring, so look elsewhere to consolidate two districts.”
And so it goes. The current districts are wide and expansive. We’ve been fortunate to have Congressman Edward J. Markey as our representative in Washington. He is one of the senior members of Congress and the dean of the New England delegation.
However, the present Congressional districts are in dire need of restructuring, and not merely for the sake of redistricting. Revere (Edward J. Markey), Chelsea (Michael Capuano), and Lynn (John Tierney), and most of Boston (Stephen Lynch) have different congressmen, despite their relative proximity (maybe a six-mile radius) and similar issues (Logan Airport, MBTA, traffic congestion, beaches).
It is not an easy task to contract 10 districts into nine, but the race is on to get it done and it will be a much-anticipated and closely watched issue.