Following the 2020 Federal Census, the Vermont Legislative Apportionment Board (LAB) is looking at redistricting this year and is considering a plan to create all one-member districts within the state. The goal of the LAB is for each state representative to represent about 4,287 people to ensure fairness in representation.
Currently, the towns in the Mad River Valley – Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown and Duxbury – are a single district and are represented by two state reps.
As part of that plan under consideration, the LAB is proposing to split The Valley towns into two one-representative district. One district would include Warren and Waitsfield as well as all Fayston voters who live on or south of Route 17. The Faystonians who live north of Route 17 would be in a one-member district with Moretown and Duxbury.
Before even getting to the issue of how absurd it is to split a town, let’s consider the fact that the Mad River Valley (and our current district) is a contiguous geographic area with a shared watershed and two shared mountain ranges.
We’re closely connected by road and topography. We share a school district with Waterbury. We are a cohesive community made up of five towns and it should stay that way.
The math supports that as well. The 2020 census numbers show that the population of the five towns is 8,351. Having two state representatives means 4,175.5 per representative, which falls within the LAB’s allowable deviation of 10% or less from 4,287.
Creating two districts from the five towns would create one district with 4,177 people from Duxbury, Moretown and part of Fayston, and a second with 4,174 people from Warren, Waitsfield and part of Fayston. Really, what’s the point of that since the numbers are so close?
Now let’s talk about Fayston. Splitting towns is absurd and artificial and the Fayston Board of Civil Authority will be petitioning the LAB (with support of the other Valley towns) to remain one town within a five-town district.
Splitting up The Valley towns is not okay, but splitting a town along a state highway is really not acceptable.