Latest Sullivan County House map would keep Cornish, Plainfield together

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/22/2021 9:41:03 PM
Modified: 11/22/2021 9:41:00 PM

PLAINFIELD — The proposed redistricting plan for the New Hampshire House would keep Plainfield and Cornish together in their own district but pares some power from Claremont because of population changes, according to the latest version, which is headed to a House vote in January.

The House Special Committee on Redistricting approved maps for the House last week that included a plan for Sullivan County drawn by Democrats on the panel. That proposal makes Plainfield and Cornish a single-member district, gives Grantham its own seat, pairs Springfield and Sunapee into a single-representative district, and allots a Claremont and Croydon district three seats, among other changes.

It also creates a three-person district in heavily Republican Charlestown, Newport and Unity.

The map replaces al Republican plan to scrap a two-member district that includes Plainfield, Cornish, Grantham and Springfield. That plan would have put Plainfield and Croydon into a single-seat district and Springfield and Cornish in a two-seat district with Newport and Goshen.

State Rep. Steven Smith, a Charlestown Republican who serves as vice chairman of the Redistricting committee and had crafted the GOP map, said members of the panel were concerned that it “put us outside the 10% deviation that the federal government recommends” as a limit for redistricting. Mapmakers are aiming to have the 400 seats in the New Hampshire House, which can’t cross county lines, represent as close to 3,444 residents apiece as possible.

“A lot of members were just unwilling to be outside that,” Smith said. He also noted that Claremont “lost a pile of population,” leading to the plan to revise the present map, where the city has a representative for each of its three wards and another at-large seat. Instead, Smith said, Claremont would be in a three-member district with Croydon and also part of a larger two-seat floterial district with Acworth, Croydon, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Springfield, Sunapee and Washington.

The 2020 Census found Claremont with a population of 12,949, more than a 3% drop from 2010.

State Rep. Lee Oxenham, D-Plainfield, one of several Sullivan County Democrats to complain about the GOP proposal to separate Cornish and Plainfield, said Monday she is pleased with the new map, to a point.

“I am of course delighted that Plainfield and Cornish were kept together,” Oxenham said.

However, she said she is concerned that another single-seat floterial district excluded Grantham, which has a large Democratic voting bloc, but put Plainfield and Cornish with Newport, Charlestown and Unity.

Smith said the full House is likely to take up the proposed map in early January.

John Gregg can be reached at jgregg@vnews.com or 603-727-3217.




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