November 4, 2021:
Earlier this week, the state's Special Joint Committee on Redistricting released their draft maps for Congressional representation, and there is something seriously wrong with it: their map fails to unite Fall River and New Bedford in one Congressional district.
We believe that Fall River and New Bedford must be joined in one Congressional district because their populations form a clear community of interest. Both Fall River and New Bedford are two of the state's Gateway Cities, meaning that they share historical, cultural, and economic similarities that stretch back centuries. They also share demographic similarities. According to the 2020 Census, 29% of Fall River's population is non-white, as is 43% of New Bedford's. Furthermore, in Fall River and New Bedford, 20% of residents are foreign born, less than 20% hold a bachelor's degree or higher, and the median household income is less than $47,000. Both Fall River and New Bedford host diverse, working-class populations that share many similarities in their professional, educational, and personal lives.
As a result, these cities comprise an obvious community of interest. The bonds they share stretch from the industrial revolution to today. They deserve to be joined within the same Congressional district. If Fall River and New Bedford are not joined, we fear that their political power will be diluted in separate districts, where whiter, wealthier, highly educated communities will control who is and is not elected to office.
We are far from the only ones that believe this. The South Coast-based Coalition for Social Justice and the entire Drawing Democracy Coalition have long pushed for this. Numerous current and former elected officials of the region have also added their voice to this discussion, such as state Senator Michael Rodrigues, former Congressman Joe Kennedy III, and Congressman Bill Keating.
Odds are, by the time you read this message, even more advocates and officials will have joined the call for unifying Fall River and New Bedford in Congress.
But to create this change, we need your help. We are asking you to contact the chairs of the state's redistricting committee, Representative Mike Moran and Senator Will Brownsberger, and urge them to unite Fall River and New Bedford in a single Congressional district. You can do this by testifying via Zoom at the committee's hearing on the Congressional maps, which will be held this Tuesday, November 9 at 11 AM. You can sign up to testify at the hearing by clicking here, or clicking the button below. You can also send the committee written comments until November 9. You may email them to Rep. Moran at Michael.Moran@mahouse.gov and Sen. Brownsberger at William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov.
The people of Fall River and New Bedford deserve just, fair representation in Washington, DC. You know how to play your part. Will you make your voice heard?