Senator Bailey and I want to alert you to the following political redistricting proposal that I believe substantially gerrymanders and weakens St. Mary's County. The proposal comes from the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, which will present its draft plan this Monday evening.
Redistricting is performed every 10 years based on census data of the population. For the last 40 years, St. Mary's county has always been made whole regarding State Legislative Redistricting. While State district sizes have always been slightly larger than St. Mary's County itself, the district always included St. Mary's County as a whole; only a small section of Calvert County or, in the distant past, a tiny area of Charles County was added to ensure each district throughout the state remained somewhat equal in size. For the first time in decades, the proposed maps significantly gerrymander St. Mary's County.
CURRENT DISTRICT 29
PROPOSED DISTRICT 29
This map grabs a section of Mechanicsville, Oakville, Hollywood, and California and relocates those areas to a predominantly Anne Arundel & Calvert County district. It further attaches a massive section of Charles County to St. Mary's County. The proposed district runs up the Charles County eastern border to the Rt. 381 Gallant Green area, then goes south down Rt. 488 towards La Plata, follows Rt. 6 west, captures the Nanjemoy area, and runs nearly to Indian Head.
This is almost unbelievable as I write, the new proposed St. Mary's District would run North-South from the Prince George's County border to Point Lookout and East-West from Indian Head to the Patuxent River!
As a long-standing critic of gerrymandering, I know it when I see it, and I believe this is wrong.
The Maryland State Constitution requires that districts are to be "compact and contiguous".
Clearly, the proposed district that includes Mechanicsville, Oakville, Hollywood, and California is not contiguous, and the new Charles County/ St. Mary's County district is certainly not compact. The hope of any new district lines is that it would continue to keep communities together, as they share common challenges and needs that are so often tied to the geographical region.
For example, I do not believe citizens living in Sandgates or Hollywood have the same transportation, economic development, and infrastructure needs as the people of Shady Side or Edgewater in Anne Arundel County. The same can be said of the like-minded interest of the neighborhoods of Charles County in Welcome or Nanjemoy differ in comparison to St. Mary communities of Ridge and California.
This redistricting map doesn't seem right, and Senator Bailey and I are asking for your help to keep our St. Mary's community whole. Any new map should allow for St. Mary's County to remain intact for the simple reason that I believe our unique peninsula-based community is stronger together, and I do not think it should be carved up in pieces for political purposes.
CALL TO ACTION - We need your help...
If you believe as I do, you can help! The Redistricting meeting to go over these draft maps is set to occur on Monday evening via ZOOM.
I am asking you to help both Senator Bailey and me and testify at the meeting with a straightforward message for the commission.
Let St. Mary's County remain whole. Do not divide and gerrymander us!
You can also submit your comments electronically or email a redistricting comment to [email protected]
Thank you for your time and consideration