Do Not Let Redistricting Rob Newtown Of Its ‘Power Of Four’
For nearly two decades, Newtown has been in an enviable position in terms of its representation in Hartford. But it appears the “power of four” that Newtown has enjoyed in terms of its elected leadership at the Capitol may be facing a measurable change in the coming years.
As you read this, the state is already in the process of crunching the latest Census data and taking up the administrative chore of examining its current population proximities with an eye on altering the boundaries of political representation — a process known as redistricting.
That process has the potential of robbing Newtown of 25% of its legislative clout as soon as 2022, and that just feels wrong. Especially if it happens under the radar of public scrutiny, and without one word of public input from our community.
Logic might lead one to expect that Newtown, one of the largest municipalities in the state geographically speaking, would have several lawmakers representing its citizens in the statehouse. Currently, Tony Hwang of the 28th District is Newtown’s point person in the Senate chamber, with 106th District Republican Rep Mitch Bolinsky, 112th District Republican Rep Tony Scott, and 2nd District Democrat Raghib Allie-Brennan all representing Newtown in the House.
While Rep Bolinsky’s district covers all but several neighborhoods in the far southern and western sections of town, we have seen how well he works with his counterparts, who represent other constituencies but who nonetheless team with him and Sen Hwang to present a strong, dedicated, and powerful force when Newtown most needs political muscle at the statehouse to get important measures through.
This is a foursome Newtown cannot afford to lose, at least not without a fight.
The accelerated and poorly publicized process of getting the redistricting bandwagon rolling has already seen two of the four public hearings — the only opportunities for citizens to weigh in — pass.
That leaves only two chances for anyone from Newtown to go to bat for our community’s legislative status quo: a live, 1 pm hearing on Monday, September 13, at Shelton City Hall, and a 7 pm virtual hearing the following day. These are your moments to stand up and speak out.
As our media partners and Capitol Bureau colleagues from CTMirror pointed out recently, “Redistricting is a zero sum puzzle, where changes to one district ripple across others.” In the case of Newtown, those ripples may as well be tidal waves, with the potential to alter the landscape of our political representation in Hartford for at least the next decade.
And so, we cannot urge residents who normally sit on the sidelines of complex political matters more strongly: The time to act is now. Plan to defend the power of four that we have benefited from in recent years.
To learn more, search “Connecticut 2021 Redistricting Project” online, or visit cga.ct.gov/rr/taskforce.asp?tf=20210401_2021%20redistricting%20project.
You may not be aware of everything, perhaps anything, our lawmakers have done on Newtown’s behalf, but rest assured — the things they have done are many and important. And they deserve your advocacy, if you are inclined to turn out and defend them.