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Redistricting Means Change For Hartford

By Jeff Cohen

December 01, 2011

On Wednesday, lawmakers redrew the district lines for the state house and senate. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, that means some change for the city of Hartford.

House Speaker Chris Donovan said Wednesday that, for the first time in 30 years, Windsor will have a house district in which its residents are the majority. That was the good news. The bad news for Hartford, though, is this. The same number of people will be representing the capital city -- but, in all likelihood, one of those representatives won't be from Hartford anymore.

Matt Ritter represents the city's West End. He said the census is to blame.

"It is census driven. So at the end of the day, ten years ago, when they did a census, the city of Hartford had enough population for about 5.6 state rep seats. And that's what they drew. Five point six. We now lost a lot of population relative to the state of Connecticut. So although we grew a small percentage, we didn't grow as fast as other places. Windsor continued to grow. Therefore, under the census maps, it showed that they probably deserved a majority district."

The district in question is now the home of State Representative Marie Lopez Kirkely-Bey. The Connecticut Mirror says Kirkley-Bey is expected to retire. Efforts to reach her were unsuccessful.

But Ritter says the message for Hartford is clear.

"What you want to say to Hartford is we want to find a way to make sure we stop losing population. Fourteen years ago we had seven whole districts, now we're down to five and some change. So I think the challenge for everyone in the city is, well, okay, what do we do to reverse that trend? I think that's an important conversation."

And it's a conversation that the city has at least another ten years to have -- before the next redistricting rolls around.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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