Matt’s thoughts on redistricting – – promoted from the diaries by Rosi
I don’t know what anyone else in the Blue Jersey community thinks, but I know nothing aggravates me more in New Jersey politics than the configuration of our current Congressional and Legislative Districts. If one were to Google Incumbent Protection Plan – New Jersey should be at the top of the list. Democrats and Republicans share the blame on this matter. Legislators cut deals all over the State to make their districts safer – and we should not let that happen again in 2010.
Competitive elections are the bedrock of effective and accountable representation. We need more “toss up” Senate and Assembly races up and down the State so that legislators are governing and serving the best interests of their constituents, and not best interests of corporate lobbyists and political insiders. I will address the political implications that will arise (for example 2 incumbent Senators from varying or like parties falling in the same district), but will not make political circumstances the basis for my analysis.
So in the interest of creating a more effective, and more importantly, more democratic, State Legislature, I am going to propose hypothetical legislative districts. My formula will be simple: New Jersey’s population is approximately 8,682,661 people; therefore, each district should have roughly 217,067 people in them. Secondly, I will make every effort to keep municipalities together within a County – it makes sense from a logical and logistical standpoint. Finally, I will not breakup any cities or towns into separate districts. Democrats effectively broke up Newark and Jersey City during the last go round, and even though my party benefited from it, I still think it is wrong.
Some other notable points in how I will come about developing a hypothetical district: I will make every attempt to keep like communities together. For example, my hometown of Wanaque shares a regional high school with neighboring Ringwood; as such, there is no reason why we shouldn’t share our State Senator and Assembly members. I will make every attempt to make as many districts as possible competitive and will only be looking at Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic counties in a vacuum-I don’t know enough about local politics and municipalities in the other counties, so I wouldn’t be able to render a fair assessment like I can for the aforementioned counties. Therefore, I will only be creating hypothetical districts for LD27 through LD40 (while plucking the Passaic towns from LD26 and excluding LD30, which for whatever reason is listed with North Jersey legislative districts).