The lines for Maine House and Senate districts are being redrawn, with the legislature having approved the new district lines that were recommended by a bipartisan Apportionment Commission.
The most significant change for Washington County is the removal of most county towns from the long and skinny, gerrymandered House District #30, which has extended from Pembroke to the Penobscot County line in Amherst. Those Washington County municipalities no longer in the district now will be placed in different adjacent districts.
The only county municipalities in District #30, which has included Pembroke, Dennysville, East Machias, Meddybemps, Cooper, Alexander, Jonesboro, Marshfield and Whitneyville, now will be Beddington, Deblois, Northfield and Wesley and part of the north Washington unorganized territories. District #30 is currently represented by Rep. Lawrence Lockman of Amherst.
House District #11, which has covered northern Washington County, will extend closer to the coast and be changed to include Alexander, Codyville, Cooper, Crawford, Danforth, Dennysville, Grand Lake Stream, Meddybemps, Princeton, Talmadge, Topsfield, Vanceboro, Waite and part of east central Washington and north Washington unorganized territories. It will also include Penobscot County municipalities such as Lee, Springfield and Mattawamkeag. Rep. Beth Turner of Burlington is the current representative.
Pembroke now will be included in House District 31, which also includes Baileyville, Calais, Charlotte, Perry and Robbinston. That district is currently represented by Rep. Joyce Maker of Calais.
East Machias will be included in House District 32, which also includes Cutler, Eastport, Lubec, part of Machias, Machiasport, Roque Bluffs and Whiting. Rep. Katherine Cassidy of Lubec currently represents the district.
House District #33 will include part of Machias, Jonesboro, Marshfield and Whitneyville, along with Addison, Beals, Cherryfield, Columbia Falls, Columbia, Harrington, Jonesport, Milbridge and Steuben. Rep. Peter Doak of Columbia Falls is the current representative.
State Senate District #29 will continue to include all of Washington County but will no longer have any of the Penobscot County townships. The Hancock County municipalities and territories in the district will be changed to include part of the coast, with Eastbrook, Franklin, Great Pond, Osborn and Waltham no longer in the district and East Hancock, Gouldsboro, Sullivan and Winter Harbor added in.
Maine law requires that legislative district and county commission maps be updated every 10 years based on population changes. The new maps are based on the 2010 census, which shows a shift in population from northern to southern Maine. From 2000 to 2010, the population in Washington County shrank by 3.2%, while it grew in Cumberland County by 6%.
The ideal House district size is 8,797 people, while the ideal Senate district is 37,953. The 151 House districts and the 35 Senate districts are all within plus or minus 5% of that ideal population size.
"The maps are fair and consistent with changes in Maine's population," says Rep. Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan, the assistant House majority leader, who served on the Apportionment Commission. "We worked to get the job done with the least disruption in legislative districts as possible under the law."