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Selectmen discuss state re-districting plans

April 18, 2012
Selectmen heard concerns from the single Gilford representative in the NH House of Representatives over the new representative districts at their meeting Wednesday, April 11.

Rep. Alida Millham, along with her husband, Attorney Peter Millham, voiced their concern over the lack of a say some towns may have in determining the new districts.

According to Alida Millham, the new redistricting plan could leave up to 60 communities without proper representation.

Peter Millham explained that the population of Gilford alone warrants two seats in the NH House of Representatives. Combined in a district with other towns, Millham said that the district may have four or more representatives, but they could be from any of the towns in the district, and Gilford could be left without a representative.

Millham used the district of Tilton and Sanbornton as an example. He explained that the Tilton population warranted one representative, while Sanbornton's population was too small for even one seat. Combined within one district, the two towns warranted two representatives.

Millham said that while the district has more say in the House, both representatives are from Sanbornton, leaving Tilton without a representative; though it warrants at least one.

According to Millham, the district comprised of Alton, Gilford, Barnstead and Belmont would get seven representatives split between the towns, but this could leave any number of those towns without a representative.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said at least five communities around the state are considering litigation against the state over redistricting, including Manchester and Concord. Towns like Gilford and Tilton, he added, were waiting to see what actions would be available to them.

"We're waiting for someone to say 'Yup, we're going to sue.' That will get the snowball rolling," said Dunn. "Right now, we're sitting on the hill, waiting for it to snow."

The selectmen instructed Dunn to keep in contact with officials in other towns and report back for the next meeting.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
Brewster Academy
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