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State Representative Adam Greshin told members of the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) steering committee that the new districts proposed by the Vermont General Assembly following the 2000 census "were a joke" but won't soon go away.
Legislative committees will begin work on a new apportionment plan that won't likely be completed until 2012.
In 2002, controversy concerning the size of each district led to a debate about equal representation; a proposal to create 15 equal-sized two-member districts was opposed by Democrats, including Warren resident and former state Representative Kinny Perot.
One of the original reapportionment proposals included splitting up Valley towns into three districts so that Waitsfield and Northfield were one district, Fayston, Starksboro and Huntington were one district, and Warren, Lincoln and Ripton made up the third.
Perot told MRVPD steering committee members, "It was clear to us that the three towns belong together."
To provide evidence of that, Perot said she presented a long list of organizations and businesses that included Mad River Valley in their names from the phone book.
"I had a long list of organizations and businesses that incorporate the name Mad River Valley. Probably the most important is the MRV Planning District since it has such an unusual and powerful structure with the three towns, the ski area and the Chamber as members," Perot said.
"One interesting thing I discovered when thinking about The Valley was that, other than Route 100, all the roads leading into The Valley have the name 'Gap' associated with them. We live in an easily defined watershed (and it didn't hurt that I was head of Friends of the Mad River and could discuss that easily) and one that is not that easy to reach without four wheel drive in the winter. As you know the Lincoln Gap is closed part of the year," Perot said.
Greshin said, "We have every reason to think that we should still be in the same district and we should keep the districts the same."
Greshin said, "The reapportionment board looks at the state with a fine-toothed comb." A study is expected to be done soon, he added.
"I think we should all help Adam with arguments for whatever we think is the best solution once the numbers and initial districts are formulated by the Legislature," Perot said.