House Map Adds 13 New Majority Minority Districts

BOSTON -- New incumbent-free House districts centered in Chelsea, Brockton and Lawrence and the shrinking of the Berkshire County delegation mark some of the biggest changes to the district map proposed by lawmakers in charge of the decennial redistricting process, who have drafted a House map that would increase the number of districts with a majority minority population by 13 beginning with the 2022 elections.

Assistant House Majority Leader Michael Moran and Senate President Pro Tempore William Brownsberger plan to present draft legislative maps at a Tuesday afternoon hearing of the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting.

The two Democrats have been leading the redistricting effort this year after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the traditional spring release of U.S. Census population data until mid-August. While the population in Massachusetts grew by 7.4% to more than 7 million over the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the white population declined by 7%, while the Black, Asian and Latinx populations all grew.

The proposed map of new House districts would increase the number of majority minority districts from 20 when the current districts were drawn in 2011 to 33, exceeding the targets set by voting rights groups that have been pressuring lawmakers to draw districts that would maximize opportunities for candidates of color to win seats on Beacon Hill and diversify the ranks of the Legislature.

The Drawing Democracy Coalition had identified nine House districts that could be transformed into majority minority districts based on population growth. Eight of those new districts proposed by the committee have majority Latinx populations, and two have majority Black populations, while minorities collectively make up the majority of the population in the remaining 23 districts.

The draft maps would also create four incumbent-free districts, three of which would be based around Chelsea, Brockton and Lawrence-Methuen. Those districts - the new 11th Suffolk, 11th Plymouth and 4th Essex - do not correspond to the current districts with the same names, which are held by Rep. Elizabeth Malia of Boston, Majority Leader Claire Cronin of Easton and the vacant North Shore seat previously help by Republican Brad Hill.

The fourth incumbent-free district, the 6th Middlesex, shares a name with the district represented by Rep. Maria Robinson of Framingham. Cronin has been nominated by President Joe Biden to become the ambassador to Ireland, while Robinson has been nominated by the White House for a post in the U.S. Department of Energy.

The 11th Suffolk District and 4th Essex districts, as drafted, would be incumbent-free and majority Hispanic, while the other two incumbent free districts would be majority opportunity districts, meaning no one minority group represents over 50 percent of the population.

Berkshire County, where population declined over the last decade, would also see its House delegation shrink by one, to three representatives, with Reps. Paul Mark of Peru and John Barrett of North Adams drawn into the same district. Mark is said to be considering running for state Senate if Sen. Adam Hinds decides to run for lieutenant governor, which he is considering.

Source : https://www.newburyportnews.com/news/house-map-adds-13-new-majority-minority-districts/article_26721d4e-2b83-11ec-9078-632b71a0f26e.html

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