New Lawrence- and Methuen-Anchored Senate Seat Could Emerge Through Redistricting

Massachusetts Senate. (Courtesy photograph.)

A new majority-minority senate district anchored by minority populations in Lawrence and Methuen was put on the table Tuesday in an effort to increase the political clout of minority and low-income communities.

The Drawing Democracy Coalition would add nine House districts and four Senate districts where people of color represent the majority of the population. The creation of a new district would also mean changes for Haverhill and communities downriver now partnered with Methuen.

“Today, with these maps, we aim to push back against inequity,” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, the executive director of MassVOTE. The proposed House map would increase the number of majority-minority districts from 20 to 29, increasing the likelihood that a person of color could win a seat in cities like Everett, Framingham, Malden, New Bedford, Randolph and Revere, where historically there have never been majority-minority districts.

On the Senate side, the coalition has proposed to create a majority-Black district in Boston and increase the statewide number of majority-minority districts from three to seven with new districts anchored by minority populations in Lawrence and Methuen, Chelsea and Everett, East Boston and Lynn and Brockton and Randolph. Crighton would see his North Shore-based district extend south toward Boston under the proposal, capturing the communities of East Boston and Revere.

In one case, it would force incumbents in two House districts to run against each other, while Sen. Brendan Crighton of Lynn would most likely find himself in the same district as whoever wins the special election to replace former Winthrop Sen. Joseph Boncore. Two Democrats—one from Revere and one from East Boston—are currently running to succeed Boncore in a special election scheduled for January, but would see the district change substantially in 2022 if this plan were adopted.

The Joint Committee on Redistricting, co-chaired by Rep. Michael Moran and Sen. William Brownsberger, is leading the legislative effort this fall to redraw state and federal political boundaries based on the 2020 Census, which saw the state’s population climb 7.4% over the past decade to more than seven million people. “We anticipate having many more thoughtful conversations with both leaders of the State House. Today we’re putting forward our vision for equity and we see that as an important starting place,” said Beth Huang, director of the Massachusetts Voter Table.

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