To the Editor:

I write to provide background about the impact of the Senate\'s redistricting plan on Orange County. I want to share some of what I have learned over the last five months as chairman of the Senate\'s Redistricting Committee.

As Sen. Leddy stated so eloquently on the floor of the Senate, redistricting is really about two things, math and maps. To put it another way, it is about numbers and neighborhoods, calculations and communities. The challenge is to be as true as possible to Vermont\'s towns and neighborhoods, while also ensuring that every Vermonter, regardless of where they live, has equal representation in the state Legislature.

Let me start with some numbers. The state\'s population, as measured in the 2000 Census, is 608,827 people. Take this number, divide it by 30 (the number of senators in Vermont\'s state Senate) and you get 20,295 people per senator statewide.

Now look at the population in the Northeast Kingdom counties of Essex, Orleans and Caledonia. Combined, they have a population of 62,438. Take that population, and divide it by the ideal population per senator, 20,295, and you get 3.08 senators. If you round that figure off, the three counties of the Northeast Kingdom combined should share three senators among them. Under current lines, the Essex-Orleans Senate district has two senators and the Caledonia Senate district (with many Orange County towns), also has two senators. Taking the 2000 Census numbers into account, the Northeast Kingdom is over-represented by a full senator.


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