13 Senators voted against map that failed to create unified Southcoast district anchored by Fall River and New Bedford
BOSTON – The Drawing Democracy Coalition is responding to the new Congressional map approved by the Massachusetts legislature today. Dax Crocker, Democracy HUB Coordinator for the Coalition for Social Justice, a Drawing Democracy Coalition Steering Committee member, said:
“While we celebrate that Fall River will no longer be divided, we are extremely disappointed that the same is not true for the Southcoast community to which it belongs. The pleas of advocates, local leaders and community members to unite Fall River and New Bedford in the Ninth Congressional District were unfortunately dismissed by the Redistricting Committee, but they were heard by the many state legislators who voted against the map. This was a once-in-a-decade opportunity to unify a community anchored by its two Gateway Cities, Fall River and New Bedford, that have shared economic interests and cultural identities. It was possible to unite these two cities and preserve the majority-minority status of the Seventh Congressional District, as our Unity Map proved.
“While we are grateful to the Redistricting Committee for a transparent process and the opportunity to be heard, the map approved today extends for another ten years the division of immigrants of all races, low-income communities and BIPOC residents of New Bedford and Fall River, which prevents them from building political power to elect candidates of their choice at the Congressional level. We are particularly alarmed by the suggestion that the Portuguese, Brazilian and Cape Verdean populations in these two cities do not constitute a community of interest worth uniting in the same district.
“We are proud to have stood on the right side of history and equity in this fight, and we are grateful to the many local leaders who stood with us, including the state legislators who voted against the map – Congressman Keating, Congressman Kennedy, Mayor Mitchell, Senators Rodrigues, Montigny and Cyr, State Representative Alan Silvia and more. We are more committed than ever before to ensuring that the people of New Bedford and Fall River have an equal voice in our democracy. Voters should choose their politicians. Politicians should not choose their voters.”
In 1924, the year North Attleboro’s Joe Martin was first elected to Congress, there were 16 House districts in Massachusetts. Thirteen of those were represented by Republicans.