Connecticut's Redistricting News
(November 19-December 5, 2001)

 

 Hartford Courant: "Lawmakers: Let Redistricting Panel Finish." December 5, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "Redrawn Districts Swap Some Voters." December 4, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "Supreme Court to Hold Hearing Friday on Redistricting." December 4, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "GOP Wants More Time to Redraw Lines." December 4, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "New Map May Alter Political Futures." December 3, 2001
 New York Times: "Redistricting In Connecticut Ends Up in State Supreme Court." December 2, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "House Redistricting Shifts Political Map." December 1, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "Old House Districts Are New Again." December 1, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "Redistricting Battle Heads To Court." December 1, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "No Deal On Congressional Redistricting." December 1, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "No Agreement On Redistricting." December 1, 2001 
 Hartford Courant: "No Deal Yet as Redistricting Panel Faces Deadline." November 30, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "State's House Lines Redrawn." November 30, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "District Debate In Final Day; 'Fairness' At Issue In Reapportionment." November 30, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "City Regains 2,500 People." November 29, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "Redistricting Helps 2 Area Lawmakers." November 29, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "House Redistricting Deal Near." November 28, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "Some Benefit From Redistricting." November 28, 2001
 New York Newsday: "State Commission Focuses on Maloney's District." November 27, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "Board Nudges Closer To Reapportionment Deadline." November 27, 2001

 Hartford Courant: "Redistricting panel approves new state Senate boundaries." November 27, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "New Senate Districts Drawn." November 27, 2001
 Hartford Courant: "Connecticut Redistricting." November 19, 2001

More Recent Connecticut Redistricting News

More Connecticut Redistricting News from July 17, 2001-October 20, 2001

More Connecticut's Redistricting News from December 29, 2000-July 23, 2001

Hartford Courant
Lawmakers: Let Redistricting Panel Finish
By Lisa Chedekel
December 5, 2001

Top Democratic state lawmakers said Tuesday that they will join Republicans in asking the state Supreme Court to give a bipartisan commission of legislators a few more weeks to reach agreement on a congressional redistricting plan, rather than turn the task over to the court.

The commission, which had 10 months to work on state General Assembly and congressional maps, failed to reach agreement by a Friday deadline on a plan to consolidate the state's six congressional districts into five. That failure sent a redistricting matter to the Supreme Court for the first time in state history.

"On Friday, we were within striking distance of a deal. We had put a fair plan on the table," said House Speaker Moira K. Lyons, the Democratic co-chairwoman of the nine-member Reapportionment Commission.

"I think it's appropriate that we should continue negotiating" a resolution, she said, adding, "I don't see that it's a long process - a day or two should wrap it up."

The decision by Democrats to seek more time came a day after Republican leaders - state House Minority Leader Robert M. Ward, R-North Branford, and U.S. Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, R-6th District - said they supported giving the commission another chance to reach agreement. Even though Republican lawmakers had rejected a last-minute compromise from Democrats, they say they would rather continue talking than allow the court to take over.

On Monday, a former Republican lawmaker, Paul R. Munns of Manchester, petitioned the Supreme Court to ask that redistricting be sent back to the commission. The court has scheduled a hearing for this Friday to consider that petition, as well as one that is expected to be filed jointly by Democratic and Republican leaders of the commission, through the attorney general's office.

State law gives the court some discretion in figuring out how to get the congressional district remapping done by Feb. 15. The court "may compel the commission ... to perform its duty," or "may take other action," including drawing district lines itself or appointing a special master to oversee the task.

Although the commission had reached a consensus months ago that the 5th and 6th districts should be merged, it wasn't until late Friday that members began brokering a compromise on the exact composition of that merger, and by then, it was too late.

U.S. Rep. James H. Maloney, D-5th District, had said Monday that he was reluctant to see the matter returned to the commission, and that the decision might be better handled directly by the court or a court-appointed special master.

But Maloney's Democratic colleagues in the 1st and 3rd districts could be at risk of their districts being dismantled if the court took over, and Maloney and Johnson could see their home cities - Danbury and New Britain, respectively - jettisoned to other districts.

Hartford Courant
Redrawn Districts Swap Some Voters; New 23rd Takes In Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook
By Charles Stannard
December 4, 2001

State representatives will be introducing themselves soon to new constituents added under a redistricting that shifts Middlesex County towns among several districts and creates a new Old Saybrook/Old Lyme-based district on the shoreline.

Population growth in the shoreline towns has led to the creation of a new 23rd House District that comprises Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Lyme and the southernmost section of Westbrook. For the past decade, Old Saybrook had been split between the 36th and 35th districts, with Lyme also in the 36th and Old Lyme joined with East Lyme in the 37th District.

Other changes include shifting Haddam from the 34th District, which includes East Hampton, to the 36th District. Killingworth moves from the Madison-based 101st District to join Clinton and most of Westbrook in the 35th. Middlefield, which for the past decade was split between the 100th District and the Meriden-based 82nd District, is now completely in the 100th.

Middletown retains the clout that comes with having four legislators, including state Reps. Joseph Serra, 33rd District; Jim O'Rourke, 32nd District; Ted Raczka, 100th District; and Gail Hamm, 34th District.

Serra and Hamm picked up voters at Raczka's expense. Serra picked up a large block of the city between Newfield Street and East Street.

"My generosity is amazing," Raczka said facetiously. "Gail also picked up a large number of voters from me."

Raczka said he is happy to be picking up all of Middlefield, the town where his family is from and where he still has many relatives.

"I'll miss the Middletown voters I lost, but I'm also looking forward to representing all of Middlefield and I think there's some logic to putting the entire town in the same House district," Raczka said. "And I think the way my district is drawn leaves me in a stronger position."

Two of the three Democrats who represent the shoreline area, state Reps. James Spallone of the 36th District and Gary Orefice of the 37th District, expressed general satisfaction with the changes. State Rep. Brian O'Connor, the Westbrook Democrat who represents the 35th district, said he regrets the need to split Westbrook into two districts.

O'Connor, elected to his first term in 2000, said his preference would be to avoid splitting towns. O'Connor lives in the northern section of Westbrook, which stays in the 35th District.

"I'm a little disappointed that Westbrook was carved up like that," he said. "The town has never been split before, plus it's my hometown."

O'Connor said he looks forward to meeting and representing the people of Killingworth, although Republican voters outnumber Democrats. "Killingworth is a small town with a lot of similar issues as Clinton and Westbrook," he said.

O'Connor said he called Killingworth First Selectman David Denvir Friday to arrange a meeting. Denvir, a Republican, was elected to a full term last month after succeeding former First Selectman David LeVasseur in September.

Spallone, an Essex resident elected to his first term last year, said he sees "a lot in common" among the four towns that are in the new 36th District, Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam. Spallone said he is also pleased to see all of Essex back in one district after a decade in which a small section of the town was in the 35th District.

"It's a district that makes sense," he said. "Four towns of similar size, all in regional school districts, and all on the Connecticut River."

Orefice, an East Lyme resident elected in 1992, said replacing Old Lyme with Salem in the 37th District makes sense. Orefice noted that Lyme and Old Lyme are in a regional school district, while Salem sends its high school students to East Lyme High School.

"It makes sense to have the two Lymes together and put Salem with East Lyme," he said.

Looking ahead to the 2002 election in the new districts, Spallone, O'Connor and Orefice each said they plan to seek new terms in 2002.

Hartford Courant
Supreme Court to Hold Hearing Friday on Redistricting
December 4, 2001

The state Supreme Court may give legislative leaders a second chance to approve a bipartisan compromise on congressional redistricting.

The high court will hold a hearing Friday on whether to allow the bipartisan Reapportionment Commission to draw a new Congressional map that merges two of the state's six House districts.

The nine-member panel - dominated by top legislative leaders - had focused on a plan to combine the current 5th and 6th districts, but became snarled in a partisan dispute that left them unable to reach a deal by last Friday's midnight deadline. Missing the deadline sent the redistricting work to the state Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, lawmakers from both parties said they were ready to try again.

"I would like the court to give it back to us," said House Minority Leader Robert Ward, R-North Branford. "I think if the court tells us to get the job done, maybe we can sit down and come up with a compromise."

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin Sullivan, D-West Hartford, agreed, calling the issue inherently political and one that is best solved by politicians.

Sullivan and other lawmakers said they would prefer to take up the issue in a very short timeframe - most likely by Christmas - and would probably begin where they left off Friday night - considering a merger of the 5th and 6th districts.

House Speaker Moira Lyons, D-Stamford, said she thinks lawmakers can resolve their differences in as little as two days.

"We're not starting from a clean, white sheet of paper," she said, adding that the proof of how close lawmakers were to a deal is that both sides are willing to go back to the table after last week's often bitter negotiations.

"I felt the plan we had offered is a fair plan, and that we were within striking distance of reaching a (deal) on Friday," Lyons said, before adding a note of caution: "Of course, striking distance means different things to different people."

Lyons and other Democrats were incensed that Republicans rejected a last-minute offer Friday night that would have taken heavily Democratic Meriden out of the 5th District and placed it in the 3rd District, which includes New Haven.

Minutes after the deal collapsed, both sides accused each other of failing to bargain in good faith. By Tuesday, tempers had cooled, and both sides saw an advantage to a legislative solution, rather than one imposed by the courts.

U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-6th District, said she was disappointed that the commission missed the original deadline. If the high court decides to give the panel an extension, "I would expect an agreement to be reached," she said Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. Rep. Jim Maloney, D-5th District, was less optimistic.

"I'm just skeptical that the commission can come up with a fair resolution," he said. "The Republicans have taken a view all along that they aren't interested in a compromise (or) in a fair merger of the 5th and the 6th (districts). What they are interested in is a partisan victory."

Republicans denied that and said they merely wanted to ensure that the new 5th District offers Johnson a "fair fight" in what is expected to be a ferocious battle with Maloney.

U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, said he supports allowing the commission to continue its work

"Do we really want the political geography of the state decided by a group of judges, based on the recommendation of some who may or may not understand the political importance of the districts?" he asked.

But Maloney suggested that Republicans were "afraid" to have the court take over decision-making because they would not fare as well as in a negotiated settlement.

"The court's not going to look at political gamesmanship; it's going to look at population," he said. "And the population growth has been in the western part of my district."

State law gives the Supreme Court some discretion in figuring out how to consolidate the state's six congressional districts into five by Feb. 15, the final deadline for remapping. The court may compel the commission to perform its duty, draw boundary lines itself or appoint a special master to come up with a solution.

On Monday, a former Republican state senator, Paul Munns of Manchester, filed a petition with the court formally asking that the redistricting job be sent back to the Reapportionment Commission, which is made up of eight lawmakers and a ninth appointed member.

The court agreed Tuesday to hold a 2 p.m. Friday hearing on the petition, prompting a flurry of phone calls among lawmakers to try to find common ground.

Hartford Courant
GOP Wants More Time to Redraw Lines
By Lisa Chedekel
December 4, 2001

Just three days after Republican lawmakers on the state's bipartisan Reapportionment Commission rejected a proposed compromise on congressional redistricting - sending the matter to the state Supreme Court for the first time in history - GOP leaders Monday urged the court to give the commission more time.

"I would like the court to give it back to us," said House Minority Leader Robert M. Ward, R-North Branford. "I think if the court tells us to get the job done, maybe we can sit down and come up with a compromise."

Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, R-6th District, the congresswoman Ward was seeking to protect when negotiations broke down late Friday, said she, too, supports giving lawmakers another chance. Up against a midnight Friday deadline, the commission was unable to reach agreement on exactly how to merge the 5th and 6th districts. By law, the decision now shifts to the state Supreme Court.

"I think, fundamentally, the legislators should do this," Johnson said. "This is something that's more appropriate for a legislative body than for a court system."

But 5th District Rep. James H. Maloney, the Democrat who would end up running against Johnson in a merged district, said Monday he wasn't sure it would do any good for the court to send the matter back to state lawmakers.

"The Republicans didn't want to merge the districts - they wanted to split, divide and disassemble the 5th District," Maloney said. "That was their strategy all along, and I don't think that's changed."

Maloney suggested that Republicans were "afraid" to have the court take over decision-making because they would not fare as well as they would in a negotiated settlement.

"The court's not going to look at political gamesmanship; it's going to look at population," he said. "And the population growth has been in the western part of my district."

State law gives the Supreme Court some discretion in figuring out how to consolidate the state's six congressional districts into five by Feb. 15, the final deadline for remapping. The court "may compel the commission ... to perform its duty," or "may take other action" to complete a redistricting plan, including drawing boundary lines itself or naming someone to oversee a negotiated settlement.

On Monday, a former Republican state lawmaker, Paul R. Munns of Manchester, filed a petition with the court asking that the redistricting job be sent back to the Reapportionment Commission, which is made up of eight lawmakers and a ninth appointed member. Ward said he had been in touch with Munns and supports the petition.

Jim Senich, a spokesman for the judicial department, confirmed that the court had received the petition, but said it was unclear how or when the justices would decide how to proceed. "It's all fresh ground," he said.

Ward said that while there are "serious differences" still to be resolved, he believes state lawmakers "ought to take one more stab at it." Although the commission was empaneled in February, members spent most of their time drawing new maps for state House and Senate seats and left the congressional mapping to the last few weeks, he and others said.

Late Friday - about 90 minutes before the midnight deadline - Democrats proposed a compromise that would have shifted Meriden to the New Haven-based 3rd District and squeezed a number of Republican 6th District towns, such as Avon and Farmington, into the new merged district. Before that, Maloney and Democrats had lobbied to keep a trio of Democratic cities - Meriden, Danbury and Waterbury - in the merged district.

Republicans rejected the last-minute offer, saying the new 5th District tilted too heavily in favor of Democrats, in terms of voter registration, and deprived Johnson of some Republican towns that are an important part of her 6th District base.

Johnson - the longest-serving member of the state's delegation - said Monday she was pleased to see the beginnings of a compromise emerge.

Hartford Courant
New Map May Alter Political Futures; Redrawn Districts Could Help Or Hurt Towns
By Kimberly W. Moy
December 3, 2001

Depending on which community you live in, less could be more.

With statewide redistricting stretching some state House and Senate district boundaries, a lost position could be considered a gain, politicians and political observers say.

State law requires that legislative district lines be redrawn every 10 years. The districts must be based on the federal census. Under the state Reapportionment Commission's Senate district lines released last week, the 31st Senate District sheds Southington, and the 16th Senate District moves north to encompass the entire town. For the first time in three decades, Southington will have one state senator.

"The political significance of that move is one of the biggest in the state," said state Rep. Christopher Murphy, D-Southington.

"To become the primary town under one senate district is important for a town that's one of the fastest growing in Connecticut," said Southington resident Elizabeth Donahue, an aide to House Democrats.

Not that Southington can't be a priority when you have other towns, Donahue said. But the shift "gives credence to the fact that it's a young town, with a large school system, and that's important to the state."

The redistricting plan, to be the basis of the November 2002 elections, also:

Expands the 31st Senate District to include all of Plymouth and swaps Southington for Harwinton.

Eliminates the 23rd House District seat in New Britain and part of Berlin and stretches the 24th House District south and the 22nd House District east to cover the area. The 25th House District, meanwhile, is redrawn to cover only New Britain, shifting part of Newington into the 24th District.

Shifts the 79th House District seat - currently held by Bristol Democrat Kosta Diamantis -out of Southington.

Extends the 30th House District seat, filled now by Ann Dandrow, to include more of Southington but less of Berlin.

Reduces the reach of the 80th House District, now held by Wolcott Republican Dennis Cleary, north into Southington.

Some voters and political strategists believe having two senators representing residents is a good thing. Others say that having one senator represent more than one town can stretch that senator's allegiances too thin.

With a population 2 times larger than Southington's, Waterbury has seven members in its legislative delegation, compared to Southington's six, said Stephen Somma, a Waterbury Republican and 16th District senator.

"It kind of dilutes the effectiveness of the delegation when it's so splintered and fractured into little pieces," said Somma, who now represents two-thirds of Southington.

From the politician's point of view, it's easier to serve fewer towns and whole towns, said Steven Casey, former 31st District senator who represented Bristol and Southington. "It's easier to deal with three mayors and councils than four, if you've got part of one [town]," Casey said.

But those in neighboring New Britain - which like other cities is seeing two districts merged into one - expressed mixed feelings. "Obviously, the more representation New Britain has in particular, and the cities have in the legislature, the more ability we have to move an urban agenda," New Britain Alderman Timothy O'Brien said.

Shrinking from 75,000 to 71,500 residents over the past decade, New Britain will lose a House seat under reapportionment, putting incumbent Democrats Theresa Gerratana and David Pudlin in the same district.

"They'll have to decide what they're going to do, because they both can't run," said O'Brien, who works for House Democrats. "They're good friends, and it's kind of a tough situation."

"Ask me in six months," Gerratana said Friday of the map she had only seen the night before. Some of Gerratana's 23rd House District will be represented by Betty Boukus as part of the 22nd House District. While redistricting shifts power to the growing suburbs and away from the traditionally more Democratic cities, Gerratana said she was hopeful that Boukus, of Plainville, will continue to represent the former 23rd District well.

Boukus, whose 22nd District representation of Bristol falls from 10 percent to 5 percent of the city, said, "I'm really excited about Plainville being unified." Also, even though state Rep. Demetrios Giannaros of Farmington will no longer be responsible for a chunk of Plainville, the two towns share concerns over water, transportation and other issues and will continue a regional relationship, Boukus said.

"You don't just draw a line; it's Connecticut," she said. "If they need my support, I'm certainly going to listen. Usually we can all talk and work it out."

But political organizer Tom Swan said he didn't find the new House district lines to be so benign. Rather than spreading power equally among voters, Swan said he wondered whether some lines were drawn to protect political careers.

"I did find the shape of the New Britain districts to be very weird," said Swan, executive director of the Connecticut Citizens Action Group in Hartford. "I'm actually afraid the House process was more driven by incumbency protection than by fair representation. Not that the Senate didn't play similar games, the House just seemed to jump out at me."

Meanwhile, Swan said, the new Senate map could mean a greater emphasis on a regional approach between Southington and Waterbury - and could benefit a Southington senate candidate.

"It could shift the balance of power in that district to Southington, especially if it was a candidate who understood and could make the problems surrounding Waterbury have a broader solution and vision," Swan said.

That candidate could be somebody who understands the problems of property tax relief as well as housing - "various initiatives that could be helpful to Waterbury but helpful to the region in terms of sprawl," said Swan, whose political action group supported Somma two years ago before Somma "flip-flopped" in his support of campaign finance reform.

Swan and others mentioned Murphy as a potentially "formidable" candidate against Somma in 2002. As a Southington legislator, Murphy said, he owes it to his constituents to "think seriously" about running.

Those who have been following the redistricting process said Somma, who lost Waterbury in 1996 and 2000 but has had consistent support in Southington, pushed for more of Southington to be included in his district.

But Somma, attributing his hometown losses to years when Democrats won big in presidential and other elections, said it's too early for him to decide whether he'll run again. In his seven tries, he's always had opposition and won each time.

And while he's considering moving to Southington, Somma said he hasn't been looking at redistricting in political terms.

"You make recommendations to the reapportionment commission and they look at the big picture," he said. And although both parties try to take advantage of the process, he said, "It has more to do with the migration of people than with politics."

Indeed, the new lines of Thomas Colapietro's 31st Senate District follow the population shift to more rural areas. With the name recognition of an incumbent and neighboring suburbs that are oriented toward the city of Bristol, Colapietro shouldn't have any problem, said former senator Casey and others.

"People who wanted country living moved to Harwinton from Bristol over the last 15 years or so, just like people who wanted that type of lifestyle 30 years ago moved from Bristol to Terryville, like Tom himself," Casey said. "The problems are being addressed more and more on a regional basis, so it's a positive."

New York Times
Redistricting In Connecticut Ends Up in State Supreme Court
December 2, 2001

The State Supreme Court will consider the task of redrawing Congressional districts after legislative leaders missed a deadline Friday for a bipartisan plan to reduce the number of House seats from six to five in response to changes in Connecticut's population.

The nine members of the Reapportionment Commission, appointed by Gov. John G. Rowland, were deadlocked in the hours before the panel's midnight deadline. They were trying to redraw the lines so that two of the new districts would be Republican strongholds, two would be Democratic and one a tossup to be decided in next year's Congressional voting.

The court has been asked before to intervene in district reapportioning. In 1971, it asked Robert H. Bork, then a professor at the Yale University School of Law and later a nominee to the United States Supreme Court, to review a legal challenge to the redistricting plan, said State Senator Louis C. DeLuca, co-chairman of the commission and the Republican minority leader. Mr. Bork wrote the final decision on the redistricting, said Melody A. Currey, deputy speaker of the State House and a commission member.

The court has until Feb. 15 to decide how to accomplish the redistricting. It can return the task to the commission, do the work itself or turn it over to a master, or legal scholar, as it did with Mr. Bork.

The state's six Congressional districts are now represented by three Democrats and three Republicans. Districts are redrawn every 10 years in response to changes in census data. Connecticut's population grew 3.6 percent from 1990 to 2000, but not as fast as other states, so Connecticut will lose one House seat.

This week, the commission approved plans to redraw the 36 State Senate districts and the 151 State House districts. During talks, members of both parties said they were eager to avoid going to court.

"I think everybody loses this way," Mr. DeLuca said, adding that all of the state's Congressional representatives could be in some way displeased with a court-drawn plan. "The courts don't take into consideration political history like we do."

Before the deadline passed, the commission had tentatively agreed to merge the Fifth and Sixth Districts, but negotiations stalled when Democratic and Republican leaders continued to debate which districts were party strongholds. At one point, there was a plan that would have put the Democratic cities of Waterbury, Danbury, Bristol, New Britain and Torrington in the new Fifth District, and remove Meriden, also Democratic, from the Fifth and put it in the Third to reduce the Democratic strength in the new Fifth District.

The focus also shifted to the Second District, represented by Robert Simmons, a Republican. In November 2000, Mr. Simmons beat a 20-year incumbent in a district that Republicans say is solidly Democratic, so he will be vulnerable over the next 10 years to Democratic challengers.

Ms. Currey, a Democrat, said it was impossible not to have two of the five Congressional districts remain "swing districts," because the state has 200,000 more enrolled Democrats than Republicans. The Fourth District, represented by Christopher Shays, is considered a Republican stronghold, and the First District, represented by John Larson, and the Third District, by Rosa L. DeLauro, are strongly Democratic. The new Fifth District would be a tossup.

Under that scenario, two incumbents in the new Fifth District could face each other in next year's race. Representative James H. Maloney, a Danbury Democrat who is serving his third term in Congress, could challenge Representative Nancy L. Johnson, a New Britain Republican.

As it stands, the commission may find itself re-examining the plan should the court send the task back, a daunting prospect for legislators.

"We'll have to continue working on it, of course," Ms. Currey said. "But the Democrats have gone as far as we could in giving."

The Republicans echoed that, referring to their own concessions during negotiations.

Hartford Courant
House Redistricting Shifts Political Map
By Eric R. Danton
December 1, 2001

At various times over the past 21 years, shifts in district boundaries have resulted in state Rep. John D. Mordasky, D-Stafford, representing all of Somers, half of Somers and about a third of Somers.

Under new district borders approved Thursday night by a bipartisan commission of state legislative leaders, Mordasky's 52nd House District once again encompasses the whole town, along with Stafford and Union.

And while Mordasky likes Somers fine, he said Friday that he is disappointed to lose Woodstock, which had been the easternmost town in the 52nd House District.

"I don't like it, but I can accept it," Mordasky said. "I did very well in Woodstock for the last 20 years." Woodstock is now in the 50th House District.

The 52nd District is one of several districts in north-central and eastern Connecticut altered by the state Reapportionment Commission to compensate for population shifts documented by the 2000 Census.

Enfield residents, in particular, will see changes when they head to the polls next fall. State Rep. Margaret S. "Peggy" Sayers, D-Windsor Locks, will yield a sliver of Enfield in the 60th House District, which will expand into part of Windsor.

"I will miss having Enfield," Sayers said Friday. "I enjoyed working with the people in Enfield and helping them. I look forward to meeting and working with people in Windsor and finding out what's important to them."

State Reps. Stephen M. Jarmoc and Kathleen M. Tallarita, both Democrats, will now share Enfield between their respective districts.

"Both myself and Kathy Tallarita are very committed to Enfield," said Jarmoc, who ceded the western part of Somers in the 59th District to Mordasky.

Tallarita, who represents the 58th House District, could not be reached for comment Friday.

Many state representatives reached Friday had not yet looked at the number of Democrat and Republican voters in their districts, but few thought the changes would hurt their political prospects.

"Politically, I think I'm OK," said Ruth C. Fahrbach, R-Windsor and minority whip, who lost a section of her home town in the 61st House District, which also includes Suffield and part of East Granby. Fahrbach said she was glad that the commission decided not to split Suffield, saying, "Suffield has always been a good supporter of me."

The Reapportionment Commission is composed of four Democrats and four Republicans, and caucuses for both parties in each house of the General Assembly ratified the commission's decisions.

District boundaries in Manchester, Glastonbury and Vernon stayed mostly the same. In East Hartford, the 11th House District expanded into the southern part of South Windsor. State Rep. Michael A. Christ, D-East Hartford and assistant majority leader, could not be reached for comment.

State Rep. Nancy E. Kerensky, D-South Windsor, was not thrilled to lose a section of her home town, all of which had made up the 14th House District.

"I'm sad to be losing a part of that, but in terms of what it will mean to me, I still will be representing South Windsor in the same way and working with the same people," Kerensky said.

Here are the towns that will be in each house district as determined by the Reapportionment Commission:

11th District: parts of East Hartford and South Windsor.

14th District: part of South Windsor.

52nd District: Somers, Stafford and Union

58th District: part of Enfield.

59th District: part of Enfield.

60th District: Windsor Locks and part of Windsor.

61st District: Suffield and parts of East Granby and Windsor.

Hartford Courant
Old House Districts Are New Again
By Mark Spencer and Paul Marks
December 1, 2001

Although state lawmakers have redrawn several state House districts in the region, political leaders said Friday that the changes would probably have little effect on the 2002 elections.

Many of the new districts even had a familiar look to them, as boundaries were returned to their look of 10 or even 20 years ago. Other districts, such as the 57th House District covering East Windsor and Ellington, remain the same. State lawmakers adopted the new map late Thursday.

Windsor Locks

State Rep. Margaret "Peggy" Sayers, D-Windsor Locks, had represented about 9,000 people in the slice of central Enfield that was added to the 60th House District 10 years ago, but that is removed by the new redistricting. It was replaced by a section of eastern Windsor, much of it just down Route 159 from Sayers' hometown.

"When I saw it today, it wasn't a total shock," Sayers said Friday. For one thing, it was about what she'd been told to expect by House leaders. For another, it restored the district to almost exactly what it was before the redistricting of 1991.

Back in the 1980s, Sayers was campaign manager for then-Rep. Carl Schiessl, another Windsor Locks Democrat. She said she helped him campaign door to door in Windsor, so "I've walked that territory."

Still, she will miss her alliance with Enfield Democrats, who share a state Senate district with Windsor Locks.

"It's like any time you move, there's good and bad," Sayers said. "It means I have to find out what's important to the new area of my district." To that end, she will contact the Windsor Democratic Town Committee soon about paying that group a get-acquainted visit.

Schiessl, who now serves as Democratic chairman in Windsor Locks, said that the restructured 60th District "looks very familiar," and that is fine with him. "I certainly don't feel as though Peggy is being exiled to uncharted territory."

Most important to Windsor Locks, he said, is that it not be split among more than one district. That might result in the town of 13,000 - which is a geographically tiny 9 square miles - facing House representation by nonresidents, who might be apt to place its concerns at a lower priority.

Enfield

The 59th House District, represented by fifth-term state Rep. Steven Jarmoc, has claimed a north-south strip of central Enfield and given up about 5,600 constituents in part of nearby Somers. It still takes in the heart of Enfield's tobacco farming, which is what Jarmoc does for a living.

"Unfortunately, I lose part of Somers. I feel bad about that, because it's a great town and I had good relationships with the people there," Jarmoc said Friday. But the up side for him is a district consolidated within his hometown.

"I've been a lifelong Enfield resident," he said. "I live and work in the town, and I love it. I hope I can give them some good representation."

Democratic Rep. Kathy Tallarita's 58th House District claims the southwest corner of Enfield that formerly belonged to the 60th District. She continues to enjoy a slightly expanded district that is wholly within her hometown.

Somers/Stafford

The western portion of Somers that had been in Jarmoc's 59th District now moves to the 52nd House District, where Democrat John D. Mordasky is in his 11th term. His district also contains all of Stafford and Union, although Woodstock has been moved to the 50th House District.

Mordasky said that all of Somers was in his district when he was first elected more than 20 years ago. His base of support is in heavily Democratic Stafford, but he said he is not worried about his new territory, where unaffiliated voters are the majority and the two parties split the remainder.

Although Mordasky has thought about retiring in the past, he said Friday that he intends to run for re-election next year.

"I'm going to have to renew relationships with constituents" in the western part of Somers, he said.

Somers First Selectman Richard H. Jackson, a Republican, said his town may have benefited in the state legislature by having two representatives. But he said he was not worried about how Somers would do under the new plan because Mordasky has been a strong voice for the town.

Suffield

Some minor changes were made in the 61st House District, served by State Rep. Ruth Fahrbach, R-Windsor. In addition to all of Suffield and part of Windsor, a small section of East Granby was added to the district.

Regina Graziani, chairwoman of the Suffield Republican Town Committee, said she was pleased that her town had not been split into two districts.

"I think her district becomes a stronger Republican district," Graziani said.

Fahrbach could not be reached for comment Friday.

In several elections, including the most recent race for the state House, Democrats did not even field a candidate against Fahrbach. Ron Rookey, chairman of the Suffield Democratic Town Committee, said the new district will make his party's job tougher.

"It makes our hill a little steeper," he said.

Hartford Courant
Redistricting Battle Heads To Court
By Lisa Chedekel
December 1, 2001

For the first time in Connecticut's history, the state Supreme Court will take over the task of drawing new congressional district lines after state lawmakers - mired in partisan disputes over the makeup of the new 5th District - failed to meet a midnight deadline.

There were flickers of an accord late Friday that would merge a chunk of Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy L. Johnson's 6th District with Danbury and other 5th District towns represented by Democrat James H. Maloney, but that tenuous compromise fell apart in bickering over how to ensure a "fair fight" between those two incumbents in next year's election.

Connecticut must consolidate its six congressional districts into five because of shifts in the population in the 2000 Census.

House Speaker Moira K. Lyons, a Democrat who is co-chairwoman of the state's bipartisan Reapportionment Commission, said Republican lawmakers had "pushed and pushed and pushed until they pushed fairness off a cliff."

She said Democrats had made a number of last-minute concessions to their Republican counterparts - most notably, dropping Democrat-heavy Meriden from the new 5th District - but could not satisfy GOP demands.

House Minority Leader Robert M. Ward said Democrats "didn't make an effort to meet us halfway until 11, and then it wasn't enough." He said the Democrats' proposed compromise would have given Maloney too big of a Democratic edge in voter registration.

Lawmakers on both sides conceded that their inability to reach a deal could be viewed as an embarrassment, given that they've had nearly a year to draw a map. Closed-door negotiations on a congressional plan dragged on for weeks until Friday, when, as Republican Party Chairman Chris DePino put it, commission members "got down to the minutia of tossing cities back and forth."

The Reapportionment Commission was empanelled in February to reconfigure state General Assembly and congressional district. Without an agreement on the congressional map, the Supreme Court now steps in to resolve the impasse, either by assuming the redistricting itself or ordering the commission to complete it. The deadline for a final plan is Feb. 15.

Although Connecticut courts have weighed in on redistricting before because of lawsuits, the Supreme Court has never taken over the mapping.

While there was general agreement that the 5th and 6th districts should be merged, negotiations became bogged down in disputes about where Meriden, Waterbury and other 5th District cities and towns should go. Maloney had lobbied to keep Danbury, Waterbury, Meriden and Bristol in the merged district.

Lyons said Democrats agreed late Friday to shift Meriden to the New Haven-based 3rd District and to include a number of Republican towns in Johnson's district, including Avon and Farmington, in the new merged district. The proposed compromise also shifted some Democratic towns in the Naugatuck Valley to the 3rd District, she said.

She said the Democrats' plan would have given Maloney an edge of about 18,000 affiliated voters, but gave Johnson 12 percent more of her existing constituent base than Maloney would have gotten.

But Ward said the Democrats' proposal was full of sleight of hand, including leaving too many Democratic communities, such as Bristol and Plainville, in the merged district, and moving some Republican towns into the 4th District.

It was unclear whether the Supreme Court would use elements of any tentative plan as the basis for a final version of redistricting, or whether the process would start from scratch. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz' office was preparing to deliver a letter to the court after midnight, notifying the justices of the impasse.

Republicans said Maloney could stand to lose more if the matter goes to court, because he risks losing Danbury - his hometown and a Democratic bastion - from a merged district. But Democrats countered that Johnson stands an equal chance of seeing her hometown of New Britain jettisoned to the Hartford-based 1st District.

Both sides agree that while lawmakers' decision-making was driven largely by politics - namely, protecting incumbents - the court will be guided by other factors, such as keeping similar communities together.

The congressional re-mapping is being closely watched by national leaders of both parties. With Republicans holding a narrow majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the redrawing of lines in one state could make a significant difference - not just next year, but for the next decade. District lines are drawn every 10 years, based on population changes in U.S. census data.

Connecticut now has three districts represented by Republicans and three by Democrats.

Because of shifts in population in the 2000 Census, each of the five new districts must grow by an average of 110,000 people.

In final negotiations late Friday, lawmakers were crafting a new 2nd District, represented by U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, that would extend west, taking on 1st District towns such as Andover, Hebron and Bolton.

The 1st District, a seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, would expand to the north and west, into Suffield, Windsor Locks and other towns.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro's New Haven-based 3rd District would extend north through the Naugatuck Valley, while Republican Rep. Christopher Shays' 4th District, in Fairfield County, would gobble up towns in upper Fairfield County.

Hartford Courant
No Deal On Congressional Redistricting
December 1, 2001

The state's bipartisan Reapportionment Commission missed a midnight deadline Friday as members became snarled in a partisan dispute over how to merge two congressional districts.

The nine-member panel was charged with reducing the state's six congressional districts into five and had focused on a plan to combine the current 5th and 6th districts.

But shortly before midnight Democratic and Republican leaders emerged from closed-door talks to announce that a deal had not been struck.

"You can't move an immovable object. You just can't do it," said House Speaker Moira Lyons, D-Stamford.

The panel's failure to meet the deadline sends the redistricting issue to the state Supreme Court, which has until Feb. 15 to approve a plan. The court could order the commission to complete its work, appoint a special master to draw the lines or do the work itself.

House Minority Leader Robert Ward, R-North Branford, said he was disappointed that no deal was reached, but said, "We feel the courts are much more likely to be fair."

Ward called the Democrats' proposals outrageous and said last-minute concessions were not nearly enough.

"When your demands are so ridiculously high, giving back a little doesn't do much," he said.

In particular, Ward and other Republicans objected to a Democratic proposal to merge the 5th and 6th districts, which they said would help 5th District Democrat James Maloney in an expected battle with 6th District Republican Nancy Johnson.

For most of the night, Democrats pushed to include three Democratic-leaning cities - Danbury, Waterbury and Meriden - in the new district.

Republicans called that unfair and said at least one of the cities - most likely Meriden - should be removed. Under the Democrats' scenario, their party would enjoy a 28,000-vote plurality, an advantage Republicans called unacceptable.

Several hours before the deadline, Democrats agreed to remove Meriden from the new district and add several Republican-leaning towns in the Hartford area, including Avon, Farmington and parts of Simsbury. Democrats called the offer more than fair and expressed surprise when Republicans rejected the offer after 11 p.m.

"They pushed and pushed and pushed until they pushed fairness off the cliff," Lyons said.

Ward said it was Democrats who were unfair. Democrats would still have had an 18,000-vote plurality in the 5th District, even in the compromise proposal, Ward said. Democrats also would have had a 20,000-vote plurality in the 2nd District in eastern Connecticut.

The GOP would have had a 3,000-vote advantage in the Republican-leaning 4th District in Fairfield County, he said.

Ward disputed claims by some Democrats that Republicans - who are in the minority in both the state House and Senate - wanted the Congressional plan to go to court all along.

"I expected we could get this done," he said.

He accused Democrats of seeking a route to court. He said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin Sullivan, D-West Hartford, had been absent from the Capitol since Tuesday.

Sullivan, a member of the reapportionment panel, voted on a plan to remap the state Senate on Monday and left the following day.

"When Senator Sullivan went on vacation and delegated this to his staff, I began to think they wanted to be in court all along," Ward said.

Sen. Joseph Crisco, D-Woodbridge, denied that Democrats wanted to go court, but conceded that he did not know where Sullivan was. Ed Maley, staff director for Senate Democrats, also said he did not know where Sullivan was

Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca, R-Woodbury, said the Supreme Court could hardly do worse than the commission, which is dominated by legislative leaders.

"They want to be fair, as long as they have a little more fair than the next guy," DeLuca said of Democrats.

But Lyons said Democrats merely sought to acknowledge their party's advantage in voter registration. Democrats have nearly 644,000 registered voters statewide, compared with 453,000 for Republicans. Unaffiliated voters are the largest voting group with 774,000 members.

Lyons admitted that finding common ground was difficult because the result is that Connecticut will have one less seat in Congress.

"Making the choice of two incumbents in one district is clearly difficult," she said.

Maloney, a three-term incumbent from Danbury, and Johnson, a 10-term veteran from New Britain, are each considered tough campaigners. Many at the Capitol said a potential matchup between the two would be among the fiercest - and most expensive - House races in state history.

The congressional consolidation was the last - and biggest - task of the redistricting commission. The commission approved a plan to remap the state's 151 House seats Thursday night, and approved a plan for the 36 state Senate seats on Monday.

Hartford Courant
No Agreement On Redistricting
By Lisa Chedekel
December 1, 2001

Up against a midnight deadline that would bring unprecedented court intervention, state lawmakers remained snarled in partisan arguments late Friday over a redistricting plan that would collapse the state's six congressional districts into five.

Although lawmakers had the foundation of a bipartisan compromise, it appeared unlikely they would be able to work out details of dividing up the 5th District before midnight. By law, that would mean the congressional redistricting process would be turned over to the state Supreme Court for the first time in Connecticut history.

In last-minute negotiations, Democrats and Republicans were working to merge a chunk of Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy L. Johnson's 6th District with Danbury and other 5th District towns represented by Democrat James H. Maloney. Flickers of a compromise came after Democrats gave in to Republican demands that one of the three Democratic cities forming the core of Maloney's district - Waterbury, Meriden or Danbury - be dumped from the new merged district. Democrats agreed to spin off Meriden to the Hartford-based 1st District.

But even with that concession, Republican leaders were expressing reservations about the plan, and it seemed unlikely that a compromise would be reached in the final hour. State lawmakers conceded that their inability to reach a deal could be perceived as an embarrassment, given that they've had nearly a year to draw a map.

"We're trying to come up with something that we think is workable," said House Speaker Moira K. Lyons, a Democrat who is co-chairwoman of the state's Reapportionment Commission. She added, however, "Making a choice of two incumbents going into one district is really very difficult."

Although the bipartisan Reapportionment Commission was empanelled in February to reconfigure state General Assembly and congressional districts, members made little progress on the congressional task until Friday. While there was general agreement that the 5th and 6th districts should be merged, making Maloney and Johnson competitors in 2002, closed-door negotiations became bogged down in disputes about where Meriden, Waterbury and other 5th District cities and towns should go.

The congressional re-mapping is being closely watched by national leaders of both parties. With Republicans holding a narrow majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the redrawing of lines in one state could make a significant difference - not just next year, but for the next decade. District lines are drawn every 10 years, based on population changes in U.S. census data.

Connecticut now has three districts represented by Republicans and three by Democrats.

Without an agreement by midnight, the Supreme Court would step in to resolve the impasse, either by assuming the redistricting itself or ordering the bipartisan commission to complete it. The deadline for a final plan is Feb. 15. Although Connecticut courts have weighed-in on redistricting before because of lawsuits, the Supreme Court has never taken over the mapping.

The compromise still being discussed late Friday would leave Maloney with a Democratic edge in voter registration in the merged district, but would break up the three-city "core" of the 5th District that he had lobbied hard to preserve. The new merged district would stretch from Danbury to Waterbury and up into Litchfield County, but with Naugatuck Valley towns jettisoned to the 3rd District.

While Democrats sacrificed Meriden, Republicans made some concessions, too, backing off their argument that the new merged district should "lean Republican" in part because Johnson is the senior member of the state's congressional delegation.

Because of shifts in population in the 2000 Census, each of the five new districts must grow by an average of 110,000 people.

In the compromise being debated late Friday, the 2nd District, represented by U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, would extend west, taking on 1st District towns such as Andover, Hebron and Bolton.

The Hartford-based 1st District, a seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, would expand to the north and west, into Suffield, Windsor Locks and other towns.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro's New Haven-based 3rd District would extend north through the Naugatuck Valley, while Republican Rep. Christopher Shays' 4th District, in Fairfield County, would gobble up towns in upper Fairfield County.

It was unclear whether the Supreme Court would use elements of any tentative plan as the basis for a final version of redistricting, or whether the process would start from scratch. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz' office was preparing to deliver a letter to the court at midnight, notifying the justices of the impasse.

Republican leaders said Democrats stood more to lose if the court intervened because Danbury - Maloney's hometown and a Democratic base - could be ejected from the 5th District. Democrats countered that Johnson stood the same danger of having New Britain - her hometown - ejected from the merged western district.

State Republican Party Chairman Chris DePino described the final hours of negotiations as frenzied politicking.

"They're down to the minutia of tossing cities back and forth," DePino said. "They've been swapping maps all day."

Earlier this week, both DePino and Democratic Party Chairman John W. Olsen said that neither party would be served by the Supreme Court's stepping in. While any map drawn by lawmakers will be driven largely by politics, the court would be guided by other principles, such as grouping towns that have similar characteristics.

"No one wins if it goes to court," DePino said. "All the hard work is lost."

"There's a responsibility here. After the last presidential election, I'd like to see less of the courts taking over decisions," said Olsen.

Hartford Courant
No Deal Yet as Redistricting Panel Faces Deadline
November 30, 2001

With a midnight deadline approaching, the state's bipartisan Reapportionment Commission was snarled in a partisan dispute Friday night over how to merge two Congressional districts.

The nine-member panel is charged with reducing the state's six congressional districts into five and has focused on a plan that would combine the current 5th and 6th districts, which would pit two members of Congress against each other in 2002.

No agreement had been reached as of 11 p.m. - one hour before a mandatory deadline that would otherwise send the redistricting issue that to the state Supreme Court.

Democrats were pushing for a plan that would help 5th District Democrat James Maloney in an expected battle with 6th District Republican Nancy Johnson. To do that, they were pushing to include three Democrat-leaning cities - Danbury, Waterbury and Meriden - in the new district.

But Republicans called that unfair and said at least one of the cities - most likely Meriden - should not be included in the new district. Under the Democrats' scenario, their party would enjoy a 28,000-vote plurality, Republicans said - an advantage they called unacceptable.

Unless Democrats were willing to remove Meriden or another Democrat-heavy city, there would be no deal, Republicans said.

"At this point in time, unless they move to some sort of willingness to compromise, I don't see any option but going to court," Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca, R-Woodbury, said about 8:30 p.m.

DeLuca, frustrated by weeks of delays, said the court could hardly do worse than the commission, which is dominated by legislative leaders.

"When I saw the last plan (offered by Democrats), I said we could do better in court - easily. So why should I go along with that?" he asked.

"They want to be fair, as long as they have a little more fair than the next guy," DeLuca said of Democrats.

But House Speaker Moira Lyons, D-Stamford, said Democrats merely sought to acknowledge their party's advantage in voter registration. Democrats have nearly 644,000 registered voters statewide, compared with 453,000 for Republicans. Unaffiliated voters are the largest voting group with 774,000 members.

Speaking to reporters minutes before DeLuca, Lyons said Democrats were working on a proposal that should be acceptable to both parties.

"I think we're pretty close to something right and appropriate, and so are they," she said about 8 p.m.

Still, Lyons admitted that finding common ground was difficult, since the end result means the state will have one fewer seat in Congress.

"Making the choice of two incumbents in one district is clearly difficult," she said.

Maloney, a three-term incumbent from Danbury, and Johnson, a 10-term veteran from New Britain, are both considered tough campaigners, and many at the Capitol said a potential matchup between the two would be among the fiercest - and most expensive - House races in state history.

The congressional consolidation is the last - and biggest - task of the redistricting commission. The commission approved a plan to remap the state's 151 House seats Thursday night, and approved a plan for the 36 state Senate seats on Monday.

Hartford Courant
State's House Lines Redrawn; Hartford, Other Cities To Lose Districts
By Matthew Daly
November 30, 2001

The state's Reapportionment Commission Thursday night approved a redistricting plan for the state House that takes away political power from several major cities.

The plan, approved unanimously by the bipartisan panel, eliminates House districts in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Britain, leaving Hartford and Bridgeport with six districts each and New Britain with three.

Reflecting population shifts, the plan creates new districts in the Danbury area, New Canaan and Old Saybrook-Old Lyme, while maintaining 151 House districts statewide.

Talks also continued Thursday to draw new congressional districts for the state, but no agreement was reached. The nine-member panel has until midnight Friday to approve a plan that reduces the number of congressional districts from six to five, reflecting Connecticut's low population growth compared with other states.

If the commission misses the deadline, the state Supreme Court will step in.

House Speaker Moira Lyons, D-Stamford, called the new House map painstaking but fair. The plan reflects population changes, but does not favor one party over the other, she said.

"I believe the end product is one that is fair, that is balanced and that is never perfect, but one that recognizes the state of Connecticut" and population changes of the past decade, Lyons said.

House Minority Leader Robert Ward, R-North Branford, said the plan was a long time coming.

"I believe we have a plan before us that is fair, appropriate and legal," he said.

While the plan reduces the number of lawmakers from larger cities, that does not mean those cities will be without a voice at the Capitol, Lyons said.

"There may be numbers lost, but obviously they still have very good delegations to voice their concerns," she said.

Democrats, who now control 100 of the 151 seats, have the most to lose under the new format, which sets up possible runoffs between incumbent Democrats in four districts.

In the Hartford area, Reps. Ken Green and Barnaby Horton now live in the same district, while House Majority Leader David Pudlin and Rep. Theresa Gerratana now share a district in New Britain. Pudlin has told colleagues he does not plan to run for re-election next year, and several Democratic lawmakers said Thursday they would be surprised if he ran against Gerratana.

In Bridgeport, the new district lines set up a possible contest between veteran Reps. Robert Keeley and Lee Samowitz. It was not clear Thursday night if the two men would oppose each other.

The final merger of Democratic incumbents is in Hamden, where Brendan Sharkey and Nancy Beals will now live in the same district. Beals is not expected to run for re-election, Democratic sources said.

Lyons said the decision to merge districts was difficult but unavoidable, given population changes. Lawmakers tried to preserve minority representation in all urban areas, she said.

Besides Hartford, Bridgeport and New Britain, other municipalities losing representation are New London, which drops from three to two, and Southington, which drops from four to three.

New Haven, Waterbury and Stamford keep the same number of representatives, but some of their districts will be extended into the suburbs to achieve the statewide goal of having about 22,500 people in each House district. All districts are within 5 percent of that goal, lawmakers said.

The new Danbury-area district increases the number of representatives in the Hat City to four, while the new district in New Canaan encompasses virtually the entire town.

Other changes made by the plan include:

A New Haven-based district represented by Democrat Cameron Staples now includes a large chunk of Hamden.

A Waterbury-based seat held by Republican Rep. Anthony D'Amelio adds all of Middlebury.

A West Hartford-based seat held by Republican Robert Farr adds parts of Avon and Farmington.

A Waterford-based seat held by Democratic Rep. Andrea Stillman no longer includes New London. Instead, it will continue to encompass all of Waterford and adds a portion of Montville.

Hartford Courant
District Debate In Final Day; 'Fairness' At Issue In Reapportionment
By Lisa Chedekel
November 30, 2001

State lawmakers have known for more than a year that they would have to squeeze six congressional districts into five. Now they have less than 24 hours to draw a new map or face unprecedented intervention by the state Supreme Court.

With time running out Thursday, legislative leaders who serve on the bipartisan Reapportionment Commission were mired in a philosophical difference about what would constitute a "fair" merger of the 5th and 6th Districts - a merger that would pit two U.S. representatives against one another in 2002.

Democratic leaders were defining fairness as a plan that would give 5th District Democrat James H. Maloney an even shot in a contest with 6th District Republican Nancy L. Johnson. To do that, they were pushing to include three Democrat-heavy cities - Danbury, Waterbury and Meriden - in the new district.

"We would like to see [those cities] together," said Democratic state Rep. Melody A. Currey, a deputy House speaker, who added that Democrats remain open to other proposals.

Currey said that with two congressional districts represented by Republicans and two by Democrats, the newly drawn 5th District should offer Maloney and Johnson a roughly equal number of Democrats and Republicans as new constituents.

"We want to give both incumbents the opportunity to make it a fair fight," she said.

But Republicans didn't see it that way.

House Minority Leader Robert M. Ward said one of the two districts now held by Republicans - the 2nd - was actually a "toss-up seat" in a Democrat-dominated district. So, to achieve fairness - and to help Johnson's re-election chances - the merged 5th-6th district should "lean Republican," he said.

"Nancy Johnson is a senior member of the delegation who is poised to chair the Ways and Means Committee," Ward said. "I can't sign on to a deal that doesn't give her better than a 50-50 chance of continuing her service."

Ward said he couldn't foresee agreeing to a district that included Danbury, Meriden and Waterbury - a trio for which Maloney has been lobbying. Ward said the inclusion of those cities would squeeze out some Republican towns.

The congressional consolidation is the last - and biggest - task of the redistricting commission. Thursday night, the commission approved a re-mapping plan for the state's 151 House seats that eliminates one district in each of three cities - Hartford, Bridgeport and New Britain - and creates new districts in the New Canaan, Danbury and Old Saybrook areas. The commission approved a redistricting plan for the state's 36 Senate seats earlier this week.

The commission has until midnight to adopt a plan, which then would be published by Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and become law.

Although Connecticut courts have weighed in on redistricting before because of lawsuits, the Supreme Court has never intervened because of a missed deadline.

The congressional mapping, triggered by shifts in population reported by the 2000 Census, means each of the five new districts must grow by an average of 110,000 people. Republicans want to give 2nd District U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons a stronger base of GOP support, and have proposed, among other ideas, dumping Middletown from the district. To help Johnson, they want to keep GOP suburbs and spin off Meriden and Democratic towns in the Naugatuck Valley to the 3rd District.

Democrats want to help Maloney by shifting Republican towns in upper Fairfield County to the 4th district, but keeping Danbury, where Maloney lives. They argue that the districts should reflect statewide voter registration, which gives Democrats an edge.

Republican and Democratic leaders said neither party would be served by the Supreme Court stepping in.

The House redistricting plan approved Thursday puts two Democratic incumbents into the same district in the cities of Hartford, Bridgeport and New Britain, and the town of Hamden.

Among the plan's highlights:

Hartford's 2nd District has been absorbed into the city's 1st District.

West Hartford's 20th District no longer includes a piece of Hartford, while West Hartford's 19th District now extends into Avon and Farmington.

East Hartford's 11th District now extends into South Windsor.

Hartford Courant
City Regains 2,500 People
By Mike Swift
November 29, 2001

Hartford officially is Connecticut's second-largest city again after the U.S. Census Bureau acknowledged it erred in counting about 2,500 University of Hartford students as residents of West Hartford.

Hartford was notified this week that its official 2000 population is 124,121, an increase of 2,543 people over the tally released this spring. That moves Hartford ahead of New Haven - as well as Topeka, Kan., Evansville, Ind., and Sioux Falls, S.D. The city still trails Bridgeport in population.

The University of Hartford campus straddles the Hartford-West Hartford border. While the school's entrance is in West Hartford, many of its dormitories are in the city, which would make those students Hartford residents.

But when the 2000 Census count was released in March, "All the dorms in the University of Hartford were counted in West Hartford's population, when only two are in West Hartford; the rest are in Hartford," said Linda Osten, principal planner with the Capitol Region Council of Governments.

Because the Census Bureau made the same mistake in 1990, Hartford and West Hartford officials discovered the error almost immediately.

"There was never any question it was an error on their part," said Marina Rodriguez, principal planner in the Hartford planning division. "I'm just glad we caught it in time for the redistricting committee of the legislature to take it into account, which they did."

A higher resident count means more money because federal aid is determined, in part, by population. City officials were unable to say Wednesday how much money the increase could bring to Hartford, but Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said last year that each person missed in the 1990 Census cost $40,000 in lost federal aid for housing, education, health care and transportation.

West Hartford has not yet been notified that its population will be bumped down correspondingly, although Town Manager Barry Feldman said Wednesday the town concurs that the students are city residents.

The Census Bureau's Internet site still gives the old population number, but census officials say the corrected totals should be posted within about two weeks.

"It's official in our eyes," said Bob Rinaldi, program manager for the Census Bureau's Count Question Resolution program.

The bureau is investigating about 15 possible cases of counting mistakes in Connecticut, Rinaldi said. Hartford is the first Connecticut case to be resolved officially.

Hartford's population still declined overall, however. The revised census number means that Hartford's population dropped by 15,618 people, an 11 percent decline, between 1990 and 2000.

The revised total liberates Hartford from the ignominy of being America's fastest-shrinking city by percentage during the 1990s, a title it would have held under the original population total.

Among the 245 U.S. cities with more than 100,000 people, Flint, Mich., Gary, Ind., St. Louis and Baltimore now have larger percentage declines than Hartford.

Hartford Courant
Redistricting Helps 2 Area Lawmakers
By Charles Stannard and William Weir
November 29, 2001

The state Senate redistricting approved by the Reapportionment Commission appears to provide a political boost to two longtime incumbents of opposite parties - Democratic Sen. Eileen Daily of the 33rd District and Republican Sen. William Aniskovich of the 12th District.

The redistricting plan removes Durham, Killingworth and Marlborough from the 33rd District, while adding a western section of Old Saybrook that was previously in the 20th District. Durham and Killingworth shift to the shoreline-based 12th District, with Marlborough switched to the Manchester-based 4th District. The 12th District trades a section of East Haven for the two towns from the 33rd District.

The loss of Durham and Killingworth, two towns that traditionally trend Republican, appears to strengthen the political hand of Daily, who began her legislative tenure in 1992. Daily, a Westbrook resident, retains all of her political base in towns on the shoreline and lower Connecticut River Valley.

The shift of Durham also removes from the district the hometown of one of Daily's recent Republican challengers, attorney Robert Poliner. A former chairman of the state GOP, Poliner waged an active but unsuccessful challenge to Daily in 1998, in which each candidate raised and spent more than $100,000.

Trading the section of East Haven for Durham and Killingworth may provide a political boost for Aniskovich, a Branford Republican first elected in 1990. Aniskovich ran unopposed in 2000, but in 1998 he won re-election by only 269 votes over Democrat Joshua Geballe. The section of East Haven was carried by Geballe.

Aniskovich said he's already lining up meetings with officials from Durham and Killingworth, which will be added to the 12th District in place of East Haven.

Although he's grown fond of East Haven, Aniskovich said he's looking forward to representing Durham and Killingworth. Having lived in Branford all of his life and represented Guilford and Madison for more than 10 years, Aniskovich said he has a lot of experience with small-town issues.

Politically, he has no complaints either. East Haven has traditionally been a tough place for any Republican, he said.

And Durham and Killingworth will benefit as well, he said, since the changes will likely make their state senatorial district more consistent with the 3rd Congressional District to which they belong. That's important, he said, since resources are often allocated regionally.

He also noted that he's already familiar with Durham, since it was part of his district when he was first elected to the state Senate in 1990.

Daily said Tuesday she is happy with the new district, but sorry to lose three communities she has served for the past decade. "I didn't want to lose any towns, but this had to happen," she said.

While declining to comment on the political impact of the changes, Daily said she expects to seek a sixth term in 2002.

Poliner said he has mixed feelings about the change in the district. "I'm happy and I'm sad," he said. "It takes Durham out of the group of towns in Middlesex County, but it returns us to a district we were part of for 20 years."

Poliner said he had no plans to run for state Senate again, regardless of the redistricting. "I already took myself out of it," he said.

Killingworth First Selectman David Denvir said he views it a "good sign" that Aniskovich phoned him Tuesday afternoon to welcome Killingworth as part of the 12th District. Denvir, a Republican elected to a full term earlier this month, said he is not particularly concerned about the change that places Killingworth in a different district than Haddam. Haddam, the town's Regional School District 17 partner, remains in the 33rd District.

Denvir said both Daily and Aniskovich have been strong supporters of public schools. He noted that if the legislature moves to revise the formula for education cost-sharing grants to municipalities "it might be a good idea to have two voices in there instead of one."

The new 33rd District includes the towns of Clinton, Chester, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and the western section of Old Saybrook. The new 12th District includes the towns of Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, and North Branford.

Hartford Courant
House Redistricting Deal Near
By Lisa Chedekel
November 28, 2001

State legislative leaders made progress Tuesday on redistricting plans for the state's 151 House seats and said they were hopeful of reaching an agreement as early as today.

But it remained uncertain whether the lawmakers on the state's Reapportionment Commission would be able to meet Friday's deadline on another piece of the redistricting puzzle: merging six congressional districts into five.

In the House redistricting, legislators confirmed Tuesday that they tentatively had agreed to eliminate one of Hartford's seven House districts by merging the 1st District, represented by Democrat Kenneth P. Greene, and the 2nd District, represented by Democrat Barnaby Horton. House Speaker Moira K. Lyons and other legislative leaders have said for weeks that it was likely that Hartford would have to lose a district because of a loss in population over the last decade.

Lyons would not comment Tuesday on specifics of the draft plan while negotiations with Republicans continued. But she did say, "Sadly, two very capable people have to be put in the same district."

Also under discussion is the loss of a House seat in New Britain, lawmakers said. One scenario being discussed is merging the 24th District, represented by Rep. David B. Pudlin, a Democrat who is the House majority leader, and the 23rd District, represented by Democrat Theresa B. Gerratana. Pudlin has indicated to some lawmakers that he is leaning against seeking re-election next year.

Lyons said she believes an agreement on the House plan is "very close." Redistricting plans need the approval of the nine-member, bipartisan Reapportionment Commission. On Monday, the commission approved a re-mapping of the state Senate's 36 districts.

Lawmakers are uncertain whether they will be able to merge the state's six congressional districts into five by the Friday deadline. They have said they are following through with plans to merge parts of the 5th and 6th congressional districts.

If they miss the deadline, the state Supreme Court will step in, possibly ordering the commission to finish its work or taking over the unfinished re-mapping itself.

Hartford Courant
Some Benefit From Redistricting
By Charles Stannard and William Weir
November 28, 2001

The state Senate redistricting approved by the Reapportionment Commission appears to provide a political boost to two longtime incumbents of opposite parties - Democratic Sen. Eileen Daily of the 33rd District and Republican Sen. William Aniskovich of the 12th District.

The redistricting plan removes Durham, Killingworth and Marlborough from the 33rd District, while adding a western section of Old Saybrook that was previously in the 20th District. Durham and Killingworth shift to the shoreline-based 12th District, with Marlborough switched to the Manchester-based 4th District. The 12th District trades a section of East Haven for the two towns from the 33rd District.

The loss of Durham and Killingworth, two towns that traditionally trend Republican, appears to strengthen the political hand of Daily, who began her legislative tenure in 1992. Daily, a Westbrook resident, retains all of her political base in towns on the shoreline and lower Connecticut River Valley.

The shift of Durham also removes from the district the hometown of one of Daily's recent Republican challengers, attorney Robert Poliner. A former chairman of the state GOP, Poliner waged an active but unsuccessful challenge to Daily in 1998, in which each candidate raised and spent more than $100,000.

Trading the section of East Haven for Durham and Killingworth may provide a political boost for Aniskovich, a Branford Republican first elected in 1990. Aniskovich ran unopposed in 2000, but in 1998 he won re-election by only 269 votes over Democrat Joshua Geballe. The section of East Haven was carried by Geballe.

Aniskovich said he's already lining up meetings with officials from Durham and Killingworth, which will be added to the 12th District in place of East Haven.

Although he's grown fond of East Haven, Aniskovich said he's looking forward to representing Durham and Killingworth. Having lived in Branford all of his life and represented Guilford and Madison for more than 10 years, Aniskovich said he has a lot of experience with small-town issues.

Politically, he has no complaints either. East Haven has traditionally been a tough place for any Republican, he said.

And Durham and Killingworth will benefit as well, he said, since the changes will likely make their state senatorial district more consistent with the 3rd Congressional District to which they belong. That's important, he said, since resources are often allocated regionally.

He also noted that he's already familiar with Durham, since it was part of his district when he was first elected to the state Senate in 1990.

Daily said Tuesday she is happy with the new district, but sorry to lose three communities she has served for the past decade. "I didn't want to lose any towns, but this had to happen," she said.

While declining to comment on the political impact of the changes, Daily said she expects to seek a sixth term in 2002.

Killingworth First Selectman David Denvir said he views it a "good sign" that Aniskovich phoned him Tuesday to welcome Killingworth as part of the 12th District.

The new 33rd District includes the towns of Clinton, Chester, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and the western section of Old Saybrook. The new 12th District includes the towns of Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, and North Branford.

 

New York Newsday
State Commission Focuses on Maloney's District
By John Christoffersen
November 27, 2001

U.S. Rep. James Maloney said Tuesday he expects to retain the core of his Congressional district when a state commission completes its work this week on redrawing Connecticut's political boundaries.

But Republicans said the Reapportionment Commission will likely carve up the Danbury Democrat's 5th Congressional District.

The commission must decide by Friday how to eliminate one of the state's six seats in Congress. The state is losing a district because Connecticut's population didn't increase as much as those in other states.

"There is a consensus or a feeling that the current 5th District will be the one that will be eliminated," said state Rep. Louis DeLuca, R-Woodbury, co-chairman of the Reapportionment Commission. "The feeling is that the district is the most likely and most logical to be eliminated."

House Speaker Moira Lyons, D-Stamford, agreed that the commission is focused on Maloney's district. But she characterized the issue as a merger of districts rather than an elimination.

"At this point most of the focus appears to be that possibility of merging his," Lyons said. "Clearly in the discussions they have centered around his being a stronger possibility than most."

If Democrats and Republicans who serve on the commission cannot reach an agreement by Friday, the state Supreme Court would step in to complete the task.

Maloney, whose district covers 27 towns and cities in Fairfield and New Haven counties, said he expects Waterbury and Danbury to remain the core of the 5th Congressional District. Beyond that, he said he's not sure how the district will change. He noted that all districts will be altered in some way.

"It is clear already that the core of the 5th District is going to be preserved," Maloney said.

Maloney, serving his third term, contended that Republicans want to carve up his district because they can't defeat him in elections.

Republicans said Maloney's district is the most likely target because it borders several other districts and could be more easily carved up.

Depending on how the districts change, Maloney could be forced to run next November against an incumbent Republican _either Chris Shays or Nancy Johnson.

Just a few months ago, Maloney was at the top of Connecticut's political world, having successfully led efforts to win the release of John Tobin, an American Fulbright scholar imprisoned in Russia on drug charges.

"It shows how fast political fortunes can change," said John Orman, a political science professor at Fairfield University.

In addition to the 5th District, Lyons said lawmakers are still discussing the possibility of dividing up the 2nd District now held by U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, a Republican. Republicans discount that possibility, citing the district's distinct character and strong opposition by residents to its elimination.

But Maloney said his district should be preserved because census figures show it includes the fastest growing part of the state.

Hartford Courant
Board Nudges Closer To Reapportionment Deadline
By Lisa Chedekel
November 27, 2001

With only four days left before a deadline that could bring intervention by the Connecticut Supreme Court, the state's Reapportionment Commission on Monday approved a remapping of the state's 36 Senate districts that is expected to benefit incumbents of both parties.

The agreement still leaves the bipartisan commission, made up of state legislative leaders, scrambling to meet a Friday deadline to approve redistricting plans for state House and congressional seats.

Most leaders said they were hopeful of reaching an agreement on remapping the 151 House seats before the deadline. They have already agreed that Hartford will lose one of its seven House seats because of a decline in population, but are still working out a number of issues, including whether Bridgeport also will lose a seat.

Lawmakers were less certain about whether they would be able to merge the state's six congressional districts into five by Friday. If they miss the deadline, the Supreme Court will step in, possibly ordering the commission to finish its work or taking over the unfinished remapping itself. Leaders said they hope to avoid the court's intervention.

"I think if it goes to court, we all lose," said Senate Minority Leader Louis C. DeLuca, R-Woodbury, co-chairman of the commission. "The court could just [draw] lines and have no concern for where the incumbents live. ... We were given a job to do, and I think we should do our best."

The four Democrats and four Republicans, who began work on redistricting four months ago, said Monday they are following through with plans to merge parts of the 5th and 6th congressional districts. That remapping would have 5th District U.S. Rep. James H. Maloney, a Democrat, running against 6th District U.S. Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, a Republican, in 2002.

Leaders of both parties said Danbury and Waterbury were at the center of negotiations on congressional redistricting, with Maloney pushing for them to be included in the merged district, and Republicans resisting.

Maloney said Monday that he had "more than a high confidence" that the two cities, which he described as the "core" of his district, would be preserved in the newly configured western district. He said he was pleased that Democratic leaders, as well as some Republicans, appeared to agree that shifting Danbury into the 4th congressional district would be "inappropriate." But he added, "There's still a long week ahead" with other issues to resolve.

Besides Danbury and Waterbury, legislative leaders must decide where to place Meriden, New Britain, Bristol and towns in the Naugatuck Valley. Bristol and New Britain, where Johnson lives, are expected to remain in the combined 5th-6th district, but Meriden and some towns in the Valley could move to the 3rd District, lawmakers indicated.

The loss of a congressional district - necessitated by population shifts in the 2000 Census - means each of the five new districts must grow by an average of 110,000 people. The 1st District is expected to take on some 6th District towns to the north and west, while the 4th District could take on some 5th District towns in upper Fairfield County.

"At this point, I'd say [merging] the 5th and 6th is pretty much a fait accompli," said state Republican Party Chairman Chris DePino. "Now it's just a matter of haggling over towns."

House Speaker Moira K. Lyons, D-Stamford, co-chairwoman of the reapportionment panel, said she remained hopeful an agreement on congressional redistricting could be reached.

A vote by the reapportionment commission is the only approval needed for the redistricting plans. The Supreme Court has never before intervened because of a missed deadline.

The Senate plan approved Monday will help Democrats keep their edge in Democratic districts and Republicans keep theirs in Republican districts, said DeLuca and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin B. Sullivan, D-West Hartford. Democrats now hold 21 of the Senate's 36 seats.

"Incumbents probably got stronger in their districts generally," Sullivan said. "I don't see any Democratic incumbent who's been hurt in this, and some have been helped."

DeLuca said he was generally pleased with the plan, although, "We did have to split some of the voting districts more than I would have liked." The new Senate map combines some towns -and portions of towns - into oddly shaped districts.

Among the more significant changes are:

The Hartford-based 1st District expands farther into Wethersfield, while the 2nd District expands farther into Windsor and Bloomfield;

The Manchester-based 4th District loses Hebron and gains Marlborough;

The Haddam-area 33rd District loses Killingworth and Durham to the 12th District;

Southington, which had been split between the 16th and the 31st districts, is now fully contained in the 16th;

Farmington, previously contained in the 5th District, is now split between the 5th and 6th;

Bridgeport's 23rd District now extends into Stratford;

And the Norwich-area 19th District now stretches from Andover to Ledyard.

Hartford Courant
Redistricting panel approves new state Senate boundaries
November 27, 2001

With a Friday deadline looming, a state commission trying to redraw Connecticut's political boundaries has completed one of its three tasks and has set its sights on the second.

The Reapportionment Commission, which includes Democratic and Republican lawmakers, was expected to vote on new state House districts as early as Tuesday after approving new Senate districts on Monday.

The third job is drafting new congressional districts. Democrats and Republicans have mixed opinions on whether the commission can finish that job by Friday. The state is losing one of its six congressional districts because its population didn't increase as much as those in other states.

The state Supreme Court would step in to complete any work the commission has not finished by Friday.

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin B. Sullivan, D-West Hartford, said he was confident the commission would approve new House boundaries as early as Tuesday, but he said it would be a "significant challenge" to finish a new congressional district plan by Friday.

Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca, R-Woodbury, said he was optimistic that the new congressional districts could be drafted and approved by Friday.

State House Speaker Moira Lyons, D-Stamford, put the odds at 60-40 that the commission would finish the congressional districts.

"It's always difficult when you merge two districts," she said. "The questions is what towns and communities do you put into that district."

Lawmakers, including DeLuca, have discussed combining the 5th and 6th districts and moving some towns in those areas into other districts. Other plans, such as carving up the 2nd District, also have been talked about.

The new Senate districts approved Monday are not significantly different from the current ones, Sullivan said.

"It's mostly changes around the edges, but they add up to a lot of changes," said Sullivan, a member of the Reapportionment Commission. "Basically the existing districts are the core of the new districts."

Sullivan said neither Democrats nor Republicans gained a clear advantage with the new districts.

DeLuca, the commission's co-chairman, said, "Each of us respected each other's wishes and did the best we could and tried to work things out that were not hurtful to the other side."

The redistricting commission approved the plan 9-0 Monday evening.

Many of the changes to Senate districts with cities involved adding more suburbs, Sullivan said.

The 2nd District, for example, now includes most of Windsor, which had been split between the 2nd and 7th districts. The 2nd District also includes the north end of Hartford and a large section of Bloomfield.

Some of the Senate district changes moved towns into new districts and placed some towns into two districts.

Ledyard, neighbor of Foxwoods Resort Casino, was moved from the 20th District, which includes New London and Waterford, to the 19th District, which includes Norwich, Bozrah, Lebanon and Hebron. Salem was taken out of the 19th District and moved to the 20th District.

Most of Hamden was taken out of the 17th District, which includes Woodbridge and Bethany, and put into the 11th District with the eastern half of New Haven.

Cheshire, which was in the 34th District, was split into the 13th and 16th districts. All of East Haven was moved into the 34th District from the 11th and 12th districts.

In eastern Connecticut, Plainfield and Sterling were removed from the 29th District and placed in the 18th District, which includes Griswold, Preston, North Stonington and Stonington.

In the sprawling 30th District in the state's northwest corner, Winchester and Brookfield were added while a section of Torrington was moved to the 8th District, which includes New Hartford and Simsbury.

In Fairfield County, most of Weston was moved out of the 26th District and placed in 28th District with Fairfield and Easton.

Hartford Courant
New Senate Districts Drawn
By Christopher Hoffman
November 27, 2001

After nearly a year of negotiations, the state Reapportionment Commission voted unanimously Monday to approve a redistricting plan for the state's 36 Senate seats.

The plan shuffles several New Haven area towns, including Hamden and Cheshire, between districts, among districts and leaves East Haven with a new state senator, Democrat Brian McDermott of Wallingford.

The changes leave incumbents McDermott and state Sen. William A. Aniskovich, R-Branford, politically stronger.

Legislative leaders from both parties, who sit on the commission, pronounced themselves satisfied with the redrawn districts.

"All in all, I think it was a fair plan," Senate Minority Leader Louis C. DeLuca, R-Woodbury, said.

"I think it's fair," said state Sen. Kevin B. Sullivan of West Hartford, the state Senate's top Democrat. "I think it's constitutional. I think it's better than the court setting the districts."

But even as the commission approved new state senate districts, a Friday deadline loomed for redistricting plans for the state House and congressional seats.

The congressional districts represent an especially thorny issue because the state must eliminate one of its six seats. The lost seat is the result of the 2000 census, which showed that the state failing to gain enough population to keep all its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

If the commission, which is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans with one neutral member, can't come up with a plan for the House and the congressional districts, the task goes to the state Supreme Court.

Members of both parties agreed Monday that the commission has agreed to merge the 5th and 6th Congressional districts located in northwestern Connecticut. That would pit U.S. Rep. James Maloney, D-5 and U.S. Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, R-6, in a race next year for the remaining seat.

Commission members said they are having trouble agreeing on how to draw the lines of the consolidated district that would likely stretch from around Danbury and Meriden north and west to the state border. DeLuca put the odds of reaching an agreement by Friday at 60-40.

Sullivan said Monday that it would be difficult to keep the issue out of court.

House Minority Leader Robert M. Ward, R-North Branford, said he wouldn't predict whether the commission could agree to a redistricting plan for the 151 state House seats by the Friday deadline. He said there had been little progress in the last 10 days and about a dozen issues remain. The plan on the table doesn't fully reflect demographic changes among the state's towns and cities, he said.

"It's too soon to call," Ward said. "It could go either way. Negotiations are at a delicate stage. We could get an agreement or it could fall apart."

Speaker of the House Moira K. Lyons, D-Stamford, was more optimistic. She said she believed the two sides were getting closer to an agreement.

"I believe negotiations have moved very positively," she said. "We're in the process of exchanging maps of the entire state. That's really a positive sign."

The commission has already missed a mid-September deadline. Under the law, the eight-member panel then had to appoint a ninth member to break the deadlock.

If the Senate and congressional districts go to the state Supreme Court, the justices will have the options of drawing the lines themselves, returning the issue to the commission or appointing a special master to set the districts.

Under the plan approved Monday, McDermott's 34th District sheds Cheshire and moves south to encompass the town of East Haven. Cheshire will be divided between state Sen. Thomas P. Gaffey, D-Meriden, and state Sen. Stephen R. Somma, R-Waterbury.

McDermott said he's sorry to lose Cheshire, but is looking forward to representing East Haven.

"I think it's a good move for myself," he said. "East Haven is a more Democratic town. It's going to be interesting to get to know a new community."

East Haven is currently split between the Democratic state Sen. Martin Looney's 11th District and Republican state Sen. William A. Aniskovich's 12th District. The plan shifts Looney's district's further into Democratic Hamden, giving him about two-thirds of the town, and Aniskovich's into more Republican Durham and Killingworth.

Both pronounced themselves happy with the changes, although both said they'd miss representing East Haven.

"Frankly, I enjoyed representing East Haven," Aniskovich said. "Losing them is bitter sweet."

Also state Sen. Alvin W. Penn, D-Bridgeport, saw his 23rd District move further into Stratford. State Sen. Win Smith Jr., R-Milford, was one of only two senators whose districts didn't change.

Hartford Courant
Connecticut Redistricting
November 19, 2001

The population in the state's six congressional districts varies widely by race and income, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census.

The estimates, based on 700,000 surveys nationwide, show whom Connecticut's six members of Congress are representing in Washington.

The data, however, is not being used this year to redraw congressional districts.

Connecticut is losing one seat in Congress because its population has not grown as quickly as other states. A nine-person panel has until Nov. 30 to present a redistricting plan, or the state Supreme Court will do the job.

Members of the redistricting panel will consider the population, racial makeup and political affiliation of each area.

They also will consider "community of interest" factors - details that make a community a natural match for a congressional district. Those include major employment centers, transportation infrastructure, and income.

According to the census:

The 4th Congressional District, which covers lower Fairfield County, was the richest, with the highest family incomes and housing costs, but also had among the highest number of people in poverty.

The 1st District, made up of Hartford and surrounding suburbs, was the poorest, with the lowest family incomes and the most people on government assistance.

Eastern Connecticut's mostly rural 2nd District and the 6th District in Litchfield County were the least racially diverse, had the fewest children and had the largest number of military veterans.

The 3rd District, covering the New Haven area, and the 5th District, covering Meriden, Waterbury and Danbury, fell in the middle, with about average incomes and housing costs, and more racial diversity.

State Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca said the community of interest data is interesting and useful, but population is the determining factor when it comes to congressional districts.

"The federal guidelines don't allow as much variance," he said. You have to get down to one person,if you can," said DeLuca, R-Woodbury. "Community of interest has to be taken into consideration, but when you look at population, what would override that is population."

Currey agreed that population must come first in deciding how to draw the new district lines.

But, she said, the districts also should be drawn to avoid splitting a town so that half the community is represented by one congressman, and the other half by another.

"It's harder to do it on a congressional level, however, you can do it somewhat on a congressional level," Currey said.

Republicans and Democrats also agree that they want to reach an agreement before the Nov. 30 deadline, to avoid sending the dispute to court.

 



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