Redistricting: State legislators offer different proposals for Gloucester, Mathews

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Mar 30, 2011 - 03:38 PM

Redistricting maps drawn by members of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have been released.

Available for public view at http://redistricting.dls.virginia.gov, the two maps drawn by opposing parties in the Virginia Senate would place Gloucester and Mathews in decidedly different districts.

A plan sponsored by State Sen. John Watkins (R-Midlothian) would place Gloucester in the 9th Senate District, along with James City County, Williamsburg, the northwestern portion of Newport News, and the western portion of York County.

Under Watkins’s plan, Mathews would be in the 16th Senate District, which would also include Middlesex, King and Queen, King William, New Kent, Essex, Hanover and Caroline counties.

Democratic Sen. Janet Howell of Fairfax is sponsoring a plan that would place Gloucester in the 3rd Senate District, along with the City of Poquoson; James City, Middlesex, Lancaster, Northumberland and Richmond counties; two disparate chunks of York County; and small portions of Hampton, Isle of Wight and Suffolk.

Howell’s plan would place Mathews in the 6th Senate District, with all of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, various neighborhoods in northern and western Norfolk, and a small portion of Virginia Beach near the Naval Amphibious Base.

The House of Delegates is currently offering only a single map, drawn by Del. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk), in which the 98th District would remain unchanged. It is composed of Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, Essex and King and Queen counties.

Redrawn Congressional districts haven’t yet been released. State legislators returned to Richmond Monday for a special redistricting session expected to last several days. After that, the adopted plan will be forwarded to Gov. Bob McDonnell and then to the U.S. Department of Justice for final review.