Most of the Commission attended, but only about sixteen members of the public. One person, a resident of Barrington and a member of Common Cause, spoke, asking the commission to redraw the district lines so that the district would be contiguous on land, not just by water, and so towns would not be split. Currently, Barrington and Bristol are combined into one district, omitting Warren.
Kim Brace, the consultant, showed that Rhode Island has only a couple of thousand more people than Montana, so if our population continues to decrease over the next decade, we may lose one of our Congressional districts. He also pointed out that currently Congressional district 1 is 7,263 people low and district 2 is high by that amount, so half that number will need to be moved from district 2 to district 1. The question is, where to move them. One of the goals of redistricting is to keep towns together where possible. Commission member Rickman is concerned about keeping neighborhoods together. Commissioner Trillo suggested giving half of Providence to each Congressional district.
The next meeting of the Commission is at the State House, November 2, to receive the results of the public hearings. The League and Common Cause are holding a joint meeting on November 3, 7:00 pm in Providence to discuss the process and politics of redistricting and prospects for reform in the future. One of the tenets of the League's position is that redistricting commissions should be independent. How can we work towards that goal? An announcement will follow. Come and show your support!