By Staff Report
CONCORD – Republican Senators passed an amended bill for redistricting the state’s Executive Council that wasn’t vetted in the public hearing process, angering Democrats.
Sen. Jim Gray, R-Rochester, issued a statement after the vote on Senate Bill 241 during Thursday’s Senate session, saying the new map addresses past concerns.
“The most common concern we heard during our 10 public hearings across the state was District 2 stretching from the Vermont border to the Seacoast,” Gray said.
“This proposal addresses that concern while also lowering the total population deviation to 1.26%,” Gray added after Thursday’s session vote.
Democrats complained that SB 241 passed with a last-minute amendment was never posted in the Senate Calendar and never had a public hearing.
Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, said until now, the redistricting process has been open and transparent.
“…I am very discouraged that my Republican colleagues instead chose to support a plan that has not been vetted, has not received public input, and that further gerrymanders our state’s Executive Council for another 10 years,” Soucy said.
Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka, D-Portsmouth, said at public listening sessions, Executive Council District 2 was consistently noted as the state’s most blatant example of gerrymandering.
“Instead of eliminating the gerrymandering in District 2, this last-minute amendment doubles the gerrymandered districts,” Perkins Kwoka said.
Under the new proposed plan, District 2 now stretches from Coos County down to Massachusetts and District 1 now stretches from the Canadian border down to the Seacoast–from Dixville Notch to Dover, she said.
“Now we have two gerrymandered districts instead of one. We owe it to the people we represent to redraw the Executive Council map to better reflect communities of interest and the bipartisan balance of our state, and this amendment fails to do that,” Perkins Kwoka said.