Harford County’s legislative districts would be dramatically shifted under the proposed redistricting plan released by the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee on Friday.
Sen. Nancy Jacobs, who championed the Hatem Bridge toll hike fight and surveyed the flooding in Port Deposit this year, will lose her entire Cecil County constituency.
Sen. Barry Glassman, a staple among the northern Harford County farming community, will now find himself representing a district stretching across the Susquehanna River to North East in Cecil County.
Del. Donna Stifler was very nearly redistricted out of her own District 35A.
Here is a quick snapshot of how Harford County’s legislative districts are impacted under the proposed plan.
The northern Harford County District 35A, which currently is bounded by the Baltimore County line to the west and the Susquehanna River to the east, would be shifted dramatically to the east – losing representation of Fallston and Jarrettsville, while pushing into Cecil County to the Delaware line.
The south-western Harford County District 7, which currently includes south-eastern Baltimore County along Route 1, I-95 and Route 40, loses a large portion of its Baltimore distric in a northern expansion that takes it to the Pennsylvania line.
The southern Harford County District 34A, which currently runs along Route 40 from Baltimore County and into Cecil County, loses the Cecil County portion of the district entirely.
According to the Maryand Department of Planning, “The Committee was guided by State and federal Constitutional and legal provisions, and has produced a product that enhances minority voting rights, pays exceptional attention to respecting natural and political boundaries, and results in districts that are compact, contiguous, and protect communities.”
Specific to Harford County, the Department of Planning pointed out that that, “The significant African American community in Harford County’s District 34A has been kept together.”
The public is invited to comment on the recommendations during a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, December 22 at 10 a.m. in the Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Building, in Annapolis.
Here is some early reaction from a few of Harford County’s representatives:
Sen. Nancy Jacobs (District 34):
“The proposal to redraw legislative lines has just been released by the Governor’s Commission and there are major changes suggested for my area of representation, District 34. Under those proposed changes my district will no longer include Cecil County, and will instead fall within the boundaries of Harford County, now reaching further north to Bel Air.
If this map passes the legislature, I will be so very sorry that I no longer represent the citizens of Cecil County. They have been very supportive of me and I have become close to so many people there over the past ten years. I will never forget how they supported my fight against higher tolls at the Hatem Bridge, showing up in droves for my news conferences and rallies. I remember working with them overnight during recent floods in Port Deposit as they reached out to help their neighbors. I have worked with so many individual constituents and come to love the character and heart of the people in Cecil County. I wish them the best and will never forget the honor I had serving them.
If the plan passes, I look forward to again representing the good people in the Rt. 24 corridor north to Bel Air. I was their representative both as a Delegate and a Senator between 1995 and 2002. I remain close to my former constituents in the area and look forward to serving them once again. That growing area needs strong representation and faces a different set of issues that I can address. I will serve whomever I am assigned to represent under the new redistricting plan with all my heart and energy.”
Sen. Barry Glassman (District 35):
“It does bring District 7 up to Fallston and Jarrettsville for the first time. The senate district will go through most of Cecil County to the Delaware line. Until we see numbers, it is difficult to see which county has the most registered voters in the district. Remember, new districts do not become effective until 2014, although most smart office holders will begin to introduce themselves to the new areas in advance of the ’14 elections. [District] 35 is a large geographical district. These split districts are a result of trying to maintain Democratic numbers in Baltimore, despite the loss of population, so districts are shifted east – as with [District] 7 further into Harford and [District] 35 into Cecil. [Sen. Nancy Jacob’s] district returns to 1999 lines. As for me, I will continue to concentrate on Harford County.”
Del. Donna Stifler (District 35A):
“Yes, the map of my district does include a lot of changes, that’s for sure. I will barely represent myself as the boundary is literally at the end of my road!!! But honestly, I had been praying about it all along so at this point, I’ll be ready to bloom where I’m planted. Of course I will miss my constituents in Fallston, Forest Hill, etc. As I’ve always said, I have the kindest and most supportive constituents in the state. But this just gives me a chance to meet more people and enjoy a new set of ‘bosses.'”
Del. Wayne Norman (District 35A):
“Northern Cecil County voters are very much like northern Harford County voters. We have the same ideals and considerations that are important to us. I look forward to providing constituent service across a much larger area. I will however miss all of the folks that I have been able to assist the last 5 years who are now shifted over to District 7.”
Here is the full release from the Maryland Department of Planning:
Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee Recommends Maryland Legislative Redistricting Plan
Public Hearing to be Held on December 22nd at 10:00 a.m.
The Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee (GRAC) released today its unanimous recommendations for Maryland’s state legislative district boundary lines. The Governor and the Committee invite the public to comment on the recommendations during a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. in the Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Building, in Annapolis, Maryland.
The map recommended by GRAC directly reflects the demographics of the State, the population trends that have occurred over the past decade, and the extensive public comments that the Committee heard from hundreds of Marylanders in 12 public hearings across the State, and in written comments.
“Throughout this process, the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee made an extraordinary effort to take into account the many concerns and comments from experts and citizens from across Maryland,” said Secretary Jeanne Hitchcock. “As chair of the Committee, I believe the map we are submitting to the Governor accurately reflects the population shifts and the diversity of Maryland.”
“This map is a fair and balanced proposal,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. “The Commission faced the very difficult task of taking into account the many recommendations we heard from counties, towns, communities and local elected officials and we did our very best to address their concerns while also remaining in full compliance with federal and State law.”
“The Committee has worked diligently to create a fair map that incorporates the public testimony, adheres to the Voting Rights Act, adjusts for population and demographic shifts and respects county and municipal boundaries,” said Speaker Michael E. Busch. “I am confident this map reflects the changing face of Maryland and ensures every Marylander will have a voice in Annapolis.”
GRAC began its work based on the current legislative district map, drawn by the Maryland Court of Appeals in 2002. The Committee was guided by State and federal Constitutional and legal provisions, and has produced a product that enhances minority voting rights, pays exceptional attention to respecting natural and political boundaries, and results in districts that are compact, contiguous, and protect communities.
The GRAC map has 12 districts that are majority African American – an increase from the 10 districts that the Court of Appeals drew in 2002. This reflects the growth in African American population in the State, and provides a much stronger voice for the African American community. These districts are 10, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 47.
In addition to the 12 majority African American districts, the map has 4 districts (20, 21, 28, 39) that are majority minority.
For the first time in Maryland’s history, GRAC recommends the creation of a single-member Hispanic district in Prince George’s County, District 47B, which is over 63% Hispanic. In addition, the Committee proposes as an option for public comment the creation of a 50% Hispanic single-member district in Montgomery County (18A). While this recognizes the increased Hispanic population in Montgomery County, the Committee has concerns about the ability of the sub-district to elect a Hispanic candidate and, equally importantly, the impact of the creation of the sub-district on the remainder of the district (18B), which would be 68% white. This option can be found here Planning.Maryland.gov/Redistricting.
The GRAC map reduces to 13 the number of county crossings, from 14 in the map drawn by the Court of Appeals in 2002. In order to preserve African American voting strength, GRAC recommends drawing District 44 as a district that consists of a single-member district in Baltimore City, and a double-member district in Baltimore County. GRAC also went to great lengths to respect municipal boundaries, and did not recommend any new splits of municipalities.
GRAC’s recommendations treat all regions of the State, and both political parties, fairly.
GRAC’s recommendations were well informed by the public testimony that we received across the State. The recommended map reflects what we heard from people across the State, as evidenced by the following examples:
Communities across the State were united into a district, such as Pikesville, Montgomery Village, Aberdeen, and Camp Springs. The Maryland City area of Anne Arundel County was included in District 32, a northwest Anne Arundel district, significantly enhancing the minority vote in that region. And one of the crossings in the map was done specifically to keep Mt. Airy, a municipality that is in Carroll and Frederick Counties, together.
Carroll County will have a Senate district that is wholly in the County, District 5.
By eliminating many crossings in Western Maryland, the Committee was able to eliminate several sub-districts, while preserving sub-districts that recognize large incorporated areas, such as Frederick and Hagerstown.
On the Eastern Shore, Caroline County has sufficient population in District 36 to compete for a Delegate from Caroline.
The significant African American community in Harford County’s District 34A has been kept together.
District 44 encompasses African American communities in the Baltimore region, recognizing the population trends that have occurred over the past decade and preserving African American representation.
GRAC is pleased to present these recommendations, and looks forward to hearing public comment on the proposal. The recommended map clearly complies with the letter and spirit of federal and State Constitutional and legal provisions.
GRAC was created on July 4, 2011 by Governor Martin O’Malley. The Honorable Jeanne Hitchcock served as Chair, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., House Speaker Michael E. Busch, The Honorable James J. King, and Richard Stewart served on the Committee