Redistricting impacts to Southborough: Changes in representation coming (including a wide open race)

by Beth Melo on November 18, 2021

Recent media stories about Massachusetts’ redistricting efforts focused on other regions. So, I initially failed to notice that the currently proposed maps show significant changes for Southborough’s districts.

The good news is that we won’t face the ballot confusion that the Secretary of the Commonwealth has complained will impact some voters. Each of the 4 redrawn maps includes the Town as a whole. So your ballot will be the same as your neighbor’s.

What is changing is incumbent officials for our districts and with which towns/regions we’ll be aligned.

Changes in Representation

Even if they run for reelection, two politicians currently representing Southborough won’t be on our future ballots.

US Congressional District comparison

Congressional Districts

U.S. Congress – House of Representatives

We had been on the western edge of the 5th district aligned with cities and towns east to Revere. That district is represented by Katherine Clark since 2013. As the Assistant Speaker, Clark is the 4th highest ranking Democrat in the House.

The new map moves us to the eastern edge of the 2nd District which cuts a large swath through Central Mass. 

The district is represented by Jim McGovern (D) of Worcester who has served in the House since 1997. He is the current Chair of the House Committee on Rules, Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and Member of the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations.

(Worth noting, the change puts us in the same Congressional district as Northborough, with which we share a school district.)

State Government –  State Representative

State Rep map comparisonOur State House Rep district, 8th Middlesex, has been redrawn to exclude Southborough. 

Southborough will be part of a newly created district, 19th Worcester, with more than half of Northborough, most of Westborough, and a small section of Framingham. (Worth noting, the new district unifies most of Westborough, which is currently split between three districts.)

As a resident of Holliston, our Representative Carolyn Dykema (D) will remain aligned with the old district (which also includes Hopkinton and adds Sherborne and most of Millis). She was first elected in 2009. At that time, she represented about half of Southborough. In 2012, she began representing the entire town. 

Our new district doesn’t include the residence of any current State reps. That means, we’re looking at a wide open race next fall.

The state’s redistricting website shared some historical maps for districts. I thought it might be interesting to look at Southborough’s past alignments.

For the decade ending 2011, Southborough was split between two districts, the 8th Middlesex (consisting mainly of Hopkinton and Holliston with part of Westborough and Medway) and the 4th Middlesex (with Marlborough and Berlin). It’s the only decade that the publicly posted maps show Southborough as split. (Though there are plenty of gaps in what is posted.)

Starting in 1993, the whole of Southborough was districted with Hopkinton, Hollis, and Medway. A map from 1973, shows we were districted with Westborough and northern Grafton. (No map was posted for the 80s. Older maps skipped all the way back to 1840.)

You can see the maps of the state House districts created in 2001, 1993, and 1863 below:

 2001 adopted State Rep districts 1993 adopted House District map 1863 adopted House District map

Same Districts with revised borders

Assuming they run for reelection, incumbents on the state ballot will be familiar for two other districts.

State Senator district comparisonState Government – Massachusetts Senator

We will remain in our current district. Currently, the “Middlesex and Worcester” district map extends southwest to include Westborough and part of Northborough. In the new map, Marlborough and Southborough will mark the southwest border of the district. The district still contains Acton, where our incumbent Senator Jamie Eldridge (D) lives.

Governors Council comparisonState Government – Governor’s Council

The Governor’s Council appears to be made by cobbling together groups of the state senate districts. So, again, we’ll remain in the same district. The 3rd District, covering Middlesex & Worcester, has been represented by Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney (D) since 1999.

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