2011-12-08 / Front Page

Jamestown could move to 2nd District

BY TIM RIEL

Census data showing a shift in population is forcing a Rhode Island redistricting panel to seek alternatives to balance out the state’s two Congressional districts, including two proposals that would move Jamestown to the 2nd District.

Put in charge of redistricting the state is a Reapportionment Commission that is comprised of six state senators and six state representatives. The commission has so far released four alternative plans.

Congressional Proposal A would move Jamestown, Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Tiverton and Little Compton and Burrillville into the 2nd Congressional District. A second proposal would also relocate Jamestown, although the East Bay communities would stay in the 1st District. Shifting into the 2nd District with Jamestown would be Burrillville, Woonsocket, North Smithfield, Cumberland and Lincoln. Proposal C and D would keep Jamestown in the 1st District.

Of the five Rhode Island counties, the biggest percentage change in population since 2000 was in Newport County, which saw a population decrease of 2.98 percent – or 2,545 residents. Portsmouth and Tiverton both saw population increases over the last 10 years, but the remaining four municipalities in Newport County all decreased. The biggest changes were in Middletown and Newport, which lost nearly 3,000 residents combined since 2000. The Jamestown population fell 217. Because of shifting population, about 7,200 Rhode Islanders need to move from the 1st District to the 2nd.

The General Assembly will vote on the redistricting options once public hearings are concluded. The final public hearing will be held Thursday, Dec. 8, at Barrington High School at 7 p.m.

David Cicilline is the U.S. representative for the 1st District and Jim Langevin is the U.S. representative for the 2nd District. The state said it would like the redistricting to be complete in time for the 2012 elections.

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