This week, our state lawmakers will present the first congressional draft maps for public comment. Activist groups on both sides are champing at the bit to present their ideas of how they think the district should look.

Every 10 years, following the census, lines are redrawn to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population. You've heard of gerrymandering, right? It's when a political group tries to change a voting district to create a result that helps them, or hurts the group that's against them. Other words that describe gerrymandering include dishonesty, double-dealing and cheating.

Some political and voting rights activists will be pushing to keep the districts basically the same, while others will be urging for greater minority representation for lawmakers to consider.

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You can bet that some activists will propose uniting New Bedford and Fall River within the Ninth Congressional District, presently held by U.S. Rep. William Keating. Do you remember 10 years ago, when New Bedford was moved from the Fourth Congressional District to the Ninth? Instead of being split between the Fourth and the Second Districts, Fall River was divided between the Fourth and the Ninth, which was one of the reasons former Congressman Barney Frank cited that led to his decision to retire.

Local registered voters will be given a chance to weigh in on this and comment publicly. My play-by-play commentary disfavors pooling the two similar cities, although good arguments can be made on both sides of this issue, and the answer is something that we'll have to live with until 2030. Number-crunching tells us one U.S. representative out of 435 is okay, but having two in 435 is more substantial.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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