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Cicilline, Langevin want new district lines drawn in Providence

October 21, 2011

U.S. Reps Jim Langevin and David Cicilline have asked the state’s Reapportionment Commission to draw the new congressional boundaries within the city of Providence. The request comes in a joint letter from Langevin and Cicilline to commission members.

Each congressman now represents 19 communities, with the capital city split between the two districts.

The Reapportionment Commission is charged with reconfiguring the congressional and state legislative district lines to comply with population changes due to the 2010 U.S. Census results.

Froma political angle, it isn’t surprising that Langevin and Cicilline, both Democrats, would want to redraw the lines in Providence, which is generally a solidly Democratic redoubt. The  most recent reapportionment, done after the 2000 census, redrew the boundaries for the two congressional districts within Providence city limits.

But after the 1990 census, when Republican Ron Machtley and Democrat Jack Reed represented the state in the U.S. House, Burrillville voters were shifted from Reed’s district to Machtley’s.

Langevin, who has an easier path to reelection than the freshman Cicilline, probably won’t be affected one way or another by the new district lines. Cicilline will likely seek to pick up some of the South Side voters now represented by Langevin and shed some older, white ethnic Roman Catholics in the city’s North End and Elmhurst neighborhoods.

For now, neither Cicilline nor Langevin has revealed their specific preferences. But their letter lists a series of goals that should be incorporated into any redistricting scheme. Most of these points are boilerplate reapportionment themes. They include:

  1. Trying to impact the fewest neighborhoods and communities possible.
  2. Be contiguous.
  3. Be sensitive to neighborhoods.
  4. 4. Use natural boundaries, such as highways and rivers.
  5. Coincide, when possible, with the state representative and state Senate districts.

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