A caucus of Democratic state lawmakers opposed May 19 the Congressional redistricting plan reported by a special legislative committee (Boston Globe, May 19, 1931, p. 9).
The caucus said that the plan was unfair and designated Rep. Birmingham to appoint a committee of 15 members to draft a substitute plan.
The Birmingham committee was expected to invite the state’s two U.S. senators, the Democratic Congressmen, the chairman of the Democratic State Committee, and the Democratic member of the national committee from Washington to aid in the committee’s work.
The committee was expected to have an alternative plan ready for a vote in the House, but not for the Senate, which was schedule to vote on the original plan on May 19.
Rep. Birmingham said the original redistricting plan was a “gerrymander.” He argued that the new division should allow seven of the 15 districts to be Democratic, seven Republican, and one “fighting territory.”
At the time, there were 12 Republican members of Congress, four Democratic members of Congress. The original plan allows nine Republican districts, five Democratic districts, and one to be fought over.
Rep. Birmingham argued that the original plan allows too great a spread in the population of some of the districts, citing the spreads between Districts 9 and 10 and Districts 11 and 12, the latter of which is about 34,000.
In the Democratic plan being drafted by the Birmingham committee, it is hoped to realign various districts so that the difference in each district would not be more than 3,000.
Rep. Birmingham also argued that some cities, such as Cambridge, Salem, Revere, Lawrence, and Chelsea, had been “cut up” too much. He said that any plan should avoid cutting up cities, with each city being treated as a unit for redistricting purposes.