The resident who is the town’s highest elected state official asserts that Bedford will benefit from being part of two congressional districts.
State Rep. Kenneth Gordon said he suggested during hearings of the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting that Bedford could absorb an adjustment to the 5th Congressional District. That was the outcome with most of the town remaining in the 6th Congressional District.
Now, Gordon commented, “we have access to two very hard working Congresspeople, both significant voices in Congress.”
A segment on the southeast side of the town, bordering Lexington, now has a new Congresswoman: Democratic U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark of Revere. She is opposed on the Nov. 8 ballot by Republican Caroline Colarusso of Stoneham.
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Salem, also a Democrat, continues to represent the rest of the town. His Republican opponent on Election Day is Robert May Jr. of Peabody.
“So now we have both of them involved as two advocates for Bedford in the federal government,” Gordon said. “And we do need those voices.”
The boundaries of the area added to Clark’s district are the middle of Page Road from the Lexington line to Shawsheen Road, then south the length of Shawsheen Road and across The Great Road, along the middle of Pine and Curve streets, and The Great Road east to the town line.
That subregion is now an adjunct of the town’s Precinct 2, designated 2A.
Gordon said Clark “needed more population and it ended up being Bedford. She told me she always has liked Bedford. Bedford shares an economy with Lexington, and so as Katherine Clark is advocating for Lexington, she similarly can advocate for Bedford. But she is not going to focus on the sliver — she now is part of the whole town.”
District boundaries follow a natural waterway, municipal borders, or the middle of a street to prevent gerrymandering, said Gordon, who now is a constituent of Congresswoman Clark.
Congressional redistricting is a mandatory 10-year process, always following the decennial federal census. The goal is to redraw boundaries necessary to approximate the population balance in each district.
The Special Joint Committee “met for more than a year, using current technologies,” Gordon said. Normally, he explained, the Legislature uses local precinct boundaries as “building blocks for districts.” But the results of the 2020 census were delayed by challenges, he said, so the Legislature couldn’t wait for any revisions to precincts.
Gordon said the process began in western Massachusetts because that region lost population and the boundaries moved to the east. The 1st District now covers about one-third of the state.
Gordon’s legislative district boundaries also changed. He now represents a precinct in Lexington as well as all of Bedford and Burlington. His district no longer includes part of Wilmington.
The legislator explained that the changes result from population shifts and ripple effects from creation of new minority-majority districts.