Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Massachusetts needs to come to its census

'Twas the week before Christmas
and at the Statehouse
not a creature was stirring....

Wait a minute, we interrupt this holiday rhyme with news that, indeed, there IS activity at the Statehouse in Boston - right now.

As we speak, Massachusetts lawmakers are anxiously waiting for news whether data from the federal census will result in the Bay State losing one of its ten seats in Congress due to a loss of population.

Say it ain't so.

And, while the census won't change the size of the state Legislature, state lawmakers are starting to wonder how their own districts will be gerrymand... uh, 'redistricted'... after the final numbers are in.

The consequences of redistricting are clear and well-known.

Brace yourself:

Redistricting of the state into nine congressional districts instead of ten would force one or more of the state's incumbent Congressmen to run against each other, unless someone leaves voluntarily.


And, the same is potentially true for some incumbent members of the state House and Senate, depending on how lines are drawn to reflect in-state population trends.


Then, there's this - losing a Congressional seat would mean that Massachusetts would also lose a vote in the Electoral College, a vote that could shift from this 'blue state' to a corresponding 'red state' that gained population recently.

Oh, the humanity...

Sarcasm aside, redistricting is a very serious matter for our state. It has long-term consequences for how every person here is represented in policy decisions, as well as dramatic effects on policy itself.

But the bigger question here is not about representation. It's about the fact that, whether or not Massachusetts clears the benchmark to retain its ten seats in Congress, we still seem to be losing population to other states. That's why there is concern in the first place.

No matter what the census numbers say, Beacon Hill politicians must take this as a clarion call, showing clear need for a new direction in state policy. We desperately need to change the mindset of how Massachusetts opens its doors to businesses and how it treats working families. That's the only way to keep jobs - and the Bay Staters who work at them - here in Massachusetts.

1 comment:

  1. At last the Federal Government is doing what the voters of MA have yet to accomplish...... getting rid of one of our current congressional members.


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