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A new shape for the Northwest Corner

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

The final redistricting of the 64th District didn’t happen by chance. As the legislature’s reapportionment committee considered the best ways to accomplish its mission over the past months, there were open meetings at which members of the public could make their opinions known. Activists from Kent, such as Richard Levy, whose letter appears on this page, attended many of those meetings to plead their case to be part of the 64th District. Levy also pled his case in the pages of this newspaper with a guest column, and The Lakeville Journal, in this editorial space, supported pulling Kent in with its Northwest Corner Region One neighbors as well.

It’s excellent that Canaan/Falls Village, Norfolk and North Canaan have now been included in the 64th as well.

While the commission was still weighing its approach, 64th District state Rep. Roberta Willis, the Democrat who is serving her sixth term in that office, had expressed some concerns about the effects that redrawn district lines would have throughout the state. She compared district changes to pushing on an inflated balloon. “Push one side and it expands out the other,” she said. “Once you change one thing you have to start changing others.” That could have become very complicated.

Now that the lines have been drawn, however, Willis is pleased that, if she wins re-election in 2012, she’ll be representing Canaan/Falls Village, Kent, Norfolk and North Canaan, in addition to Cornwall, part of Goshen, Salisbury, Sharon and part of Torrington. She’s said that residents of North Canaan and Canaan/Falls Village often called on her as if she were already their legislator before the changes, simply because they knew her and felt comfortable doing so.

All the more reason the new district lines make good sense.

Kudos to those activists who made a real difference to the way their communities will be governed at the state level going forward. The interests of the Northwest Corner towns should be better served in Hartford now that they are a unified group in the 64th.

Now, let’s hope the reapportionment committee, which needed to go to the state Supreme Court in order to obtain an extension for the final redistricting of the five U.S. Congressional seats, does as well in that task. The deadline to redraw those lines is Dec. 21.