Redistricting brings changes to Southington's state House lines

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SOUTHINGTON — New General Assembly districts could mean Southington will have all Republican state legislators if incumbents are re-elected in November.

Changes under state-approved redistricting mean that the House district currently represented by Republican William Petit of Plainville will include part of Southington beginning this fall. By contrast, the district currently represented by Democat Liz Linehan of Cheshire will no longer include part of Southington. 

The reapportioning of House and Senate districts takes place every 10 years to align them with population. Several shifts affected Southington residents and will change who they can vote for in this year’s General Assembly elections.

While current legislators continue to represent their old districts until November, they’ll be campaigning in new districts for the upcoming election.

Republican William Petit

Petit saw his 22nd House District expand into Southington and Farmington under the changes. He currently represents Plainville and New Britain.

The new district includes Plainville, a portion of Farmington and a portion of northern Southington encompassed by West Street, Lazy Lane, Loper Street and Flanders Road.

Petit said Southington, Plainville and Farmington likely have more common interests than those towns and New Britain, a city. While a three-town district can be complicated to represent, Petit said he had no complaints.

“I think it makes sense,” he said. “From size, we have more in common.”

The portion of New Britain which is in Petit’s district tended to vote Democratic. The removal of that section likely makes the seat easier to hold as a Republican, he said.

State leaders look to have each House district represent about 25,000 people.

Democrat Liz Linehan

Linehan’s 103rd District currently includes a portion of Southington in addition to Cheshire and a section of Wallingford. But she’ll be running this fall in a revised district that doesn’t include Southington, but has more of Cheshire and part of Hamden.

In her past two elections, Linehan has lost votes to Republicans in the Southington portion of her district.

Tony D’Angelo, Southington Democratic town chairman, said Linehan “fought very hard” for Southington and had the ear of state leadership.

“She represented her Southington constituents very well,” he said.

Linehan said she was glad to represent more of Cheshire, her hometown.

“The 103rd now also includes parts of Hamden, and no longer includes any of Southington, bringing it much closer to the way the 103rd district was drawn prior to the 2010 redistricting,” she said.

While redistricting would leave Southington without a Democratic state representative if all incumbents run again and are re-elected, D’Angelo hopes that new Democrats can take state office.

“Hopefully it won’t be an all-Republican town,” he said. “We want to get some Democratic representation in there.”

Linehan’s portion of Southington south of Prospect Street went to Republican state representatives Gale Mastrofrancesco of the 80th District and John Fusco of the 81st District.

All-Southington 81st

Fusco’s district is bordered roughly by Interstate 84, Hart Street and Pleasant Street. It’s entirely within Southington and with redistricting changes remains so. He gains most of what’s in the 103rd District in Southington and loses some streets in the central area of town to the 30th House District.

Fusco said the redistricting process was something the General Assembly does in a bipartisan manner. He had a chance to give input on the new district and didn’t have any major objections.

His district includes the central part of town. While Southington has grown a lot recently, much of that growth has been outside of Fusco’s district.

The 81st “still incorporates a lot of the older family names,” he said.

Minor changes for 80th, 30th districts

Mastrofrancesco and Donna Veach, a Berlin Republican representing the 30th District, said their districts weren’t greatly affected. Both still have districts that include two towns.

While Mastrofrancesco’s portion of Southington changed, she said it won’t change how she represents the town’s interests.

“We really represent the whole town,” she said. “We make decisions based on the whole town.”

Veach said it wouldn’t affect how she campaigns but she was sad to lose some areas where constituents she knows live. 

“I know some of those people. I pounded on those doors the last time around,” she said.

Veach found the redistricting process equitable.

Senate districts

Republican state Sen. Rob Sampson represents the 16th Senate District that includes Southington, Wolcott, Prospect, Cheshire and Waterbury. It remains unchanged for which Sampson said he was glad.

Redistricting plans usually help those already in office, according to Sampson.

“The parties protect their incumbents,” he said.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ


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