EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 27, 2011

Tsongas, Tierney confident congressional seats will survive redistricting

Population increases in Essex and Middlesex counties may mean that local congressmen John Tierney and Niki Tsongas could remain in their seats.

The U.S. Census Bureau released population statistics for Massachusetts on Tuesday, and the news was pretty good for the two political leaders.

Tierney, whose district includes most of the North Shore and part of the Merrimack Valley, represents much of Essex County, which saw its population increase over the last 10 years by 2.73 percent, or nearly 20,000 people. The population of the county now stands at 743,159.

That population increase is likely to be taken into account when the redistricting panel convenes in the coming months to redraw congressional district lines to reflect the loss of one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Our numbers look good," Tierney said. "We have a great situation: You can't go north and you can't go east without getting wet."

He said the fight over redistricting will become political, but that his district is in a great situation.

"We have commonality of interests, we have workforce development groups, housing groups and business groups from Lynn on up," Tierney said. "And historically, we are the longest living congressional district in the state."

Town by town, city by city, the district showed mostly growth increases.

On the North Shore, Danvers' population increased by 5 percent, Salem by 2.3 percent and Peabody by 6.5 percent. North Andover, which is also in Tierney's district, saw a 4.2 percent increase in population, going from 27,202 to 28,352.

Some of the other, larger communities in Tierney's district saw declines, including Gloucester, which went down by nearly 5 percent, and Beverly, which dropped nearly 1 percent in population.

Tsongas' district saw similar growth.

Lawrence, for example, went up by 6 percent, with the population increasing from 72,043 to 76,377 between 2000 and 2010. In fact, Lawrence had the fifth highest population increase in the state, behind Boston, Worcester, Plymouth and Revere.

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