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Beacon Hill approaches redistricting deadline for future House races19:03
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The Massaschusetts State House (Emmanuel Huybrechts/Flickr)
The Massaschusetts State House (Emmanuel Huybrechts/Flickr)

In the spring of 1812, a drawing of a dragon-like creature with a forked tongue was published in the Boston Gazette newspaper. Its body encompassed a stretch of land from near Boston up the New Hampshire border, then hooking left to the ocean.

The parcel was a Senate district recently redrawn by what was called the Democratic-Republican party in an effort to disrupt the Federalist party's stronghold on representation. And it worked. Three Democratic-Republican senators were elected from that district that year.

The lizard was named the "Gerry-mander" - a combination of the words salamander and the name "Elbridge Gerry," - the then-Massachusetts Governor who signed the new district into law.

Fast forward 110 years, and districts still regularly get redrawn in the commonwealth, based on census numbers. In fact, it's happening right now on Beacon Hill.

Legislators have given themselves until this Friday to have plans in front of Governor Baker, with a big push to increase dramatically the number of minority-majority districts.

This could literally change the face of the legislature.

We hear more about the process from State Representative Michael Moran, representing the state's 18th Suffolk district and the chair of the House's redistricting committee, Beth Huang, executive director of the advocacy group Massachusetts Voter Table, and WBUR State House reporter Steve Brown.

This segment aired on October 27, 2021.

Amanda Beland Twitter Associate Producer
Amanda Beland is an associate producer for Radio Boston.

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Tiziana Dearing Twitter Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.

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Steve Brown Twitter Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.

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