What If America Named Its House Districts?

Named House Districts

What if the United States had named House districts for the House of Representatives districts like the British and Canadians so colo(u)rfully do?

Political nerds across the world witnessed the British General Election in 2017. With a minority government in power as of July 2018, another one could be on the horizon soooner rather than later. When that happens, the names of the 650 constituencies are colorfully British from Orkney and Shetland all the way down to Maidstone and The Weald.

What if we did that in the good old US of A?

Whether on the federal or state level, our American districts are numbered. Nothing is more blah than “Texas’s 29th Congressional District” or “New York State Assembly District 123.” I mean, that doesn’t even tell you where they are. Even in Australia and Canada, they sometimes name electorates or ridings, respectively, after prominent figures. These include John Curtin, former Australian prime minister, and René Lévesque, former premier of Quebec.

When it comes to much of the western parliamentary world, unlike the United States, it’s names, not numbers. There are, however, certain exceptions. Mexico, for example, is one of the countries that numbers its districts like in the United States.

If America switched to names, like a switch to the metric system, there would be a transition period (clearly not as big of one, however). Nevertheless, we’ll preview the changes to the US House of Representatives and other choice legislative chambers.

For this exercise, we’ve gone with the British model when possible, but mostly the Canadian style of stringing together several locales into one big name. British constituencies are usually very small, so one or two neighborhoods might do it. US House districts cover a lot more square mileage (kilometerage?)

Another issue with which to contend: Gerrymandering. Some of these districts snake in very awkward ways and clip many different major population centers. We’ll make it work. In the first edition of this article, before Pennsylvania’s redistricting, we had one set of districts and names. Now we have another. If your district did not make the list, write to us and maybe we’ll add it. Maybe.

Named House Districts: Alabama to Maryland

Alabama’s 5th: Huntsville-Florence
Arizona’s 2nd: Tucson-Sierra Vista-Willcox
Arkansas’s 2nd: Little Rock-Searcy
California’s 1st: Redding-Chico-Modoc
California’s 12th: San Francisco
California’s 41st: Riverside-Moreno Valley
California’s 46th: Anaheim-Orange-Santa Ana
Colorado’s 5th: Colorado Springs-Buena Vista
Connecticut’s 4th: Bridgeport-Stamford
Florida’s 7th: Orlando-Sanford
Florida’s 23: Davie-Hollywood Beach
Georgia’s 1st: Savannah-Brunswick
Georgia’s 6th (an important one in 2017): Alpharetta-Roswell-Chamblee
Hawaii’s 1st: Honolulu-Pearl City
Idaho’s 2nd: Boise-Pocatello-Twin Falls
Illinois’s 7th: Chicago-Maywood
Illinois’s 12th: Carbondale-East St. Louis
Indiana’s 8th: Evansville-Terre Haute
Iowa’s 2nd: Ottumwa-Quad Cities
Kansas’s 1st: Goodland-Hutchinson-Salina
Kentucky’s 6th: Frankfort-Lexington
Louisiana’s 2nd: New Orleans-Donaldsonville
Maine’s 2nd: Bangor-Presque Isle
Maryland’s 1st: Bel Air & The Eastern Shore

Named House Districts: Massachusetts to New Mexico

Massachusetts’s 9th: New Bedford, Cape Cod, & The Islands
Michigan’s 10th: Huron-St. Clair
Minnesota’s 4th: Saint Paul-New Brighton
Mississippi’s 4th: Biloxi-Hattiesburg
Missouri’s 7th: Joplin-Springfield
Nebraska’s 2nd: Omaha-Papillion
Nevada’s 1st: Las Vegas
New Hampshire’s 1st: Manchester-Portsmouth-Laconia
New Jersey’s 2nd: Atlantic City-Cape May-Millville
New Mexico’s 3rd: Santa Fe-Clovis

Named House Districts: New York to Wyoming

New York’s 1st: Smithtown & The Hamptons
New York’s 11th: Staten Island-Bay Ridge
New York’s 21st: Watertown & The Adirondacks
North Carolina’s 3rd: Outer Banks-Jacksonville
North Carolina’s 10th: Gastonia-Asheville
Oklahoma’s 1st: Tulsa-Bartlesville
Oregon’s 2nd: Bend-Klamath-Malheur
Pennsylvania’s 1st: Bucks-Lansdale
Pennsylvania’s 10th: Harrisburg-York
Rhode Island’s 1st: Providence-Newport
South Carolina’s 5th: Rock Hill-Camden
Tennessee’s 1st: Bristol-Morristown
Texas’s 14th: Beaumont-Galveston
Texas’s 23rd: Eagle Pass-Big Bend
Texas’s 30th: Dallas-Lancaster
Utah’s 1st: Ogden-Logan-Vernal
Virginia’s 2nd: Virginia Beach-Eastern Shore
Virginia’s 9th: Blacksburg-Bristol
Washington’s 6th: Aberdeen & The Olympic Mountains
West Virginia’s 3rd: Bluefield-Beckley
Wisconsin’s 8th: Green Bay-Appleton

Named Massachusetts House of Representatives

4th Barnstable: Harwich-Eastern Cape
1st Berkshire: Williamstown-Lanesborough
2nd Franklin: Athol-Quabbin
19th Middlesex: Tewksbury-Wilmington
29th Middlesex: Watertown-North Cambridge
1st Norfolk: North Quincy-Marina Bay
5th Norfolk: Braintree-Holbrook
4th Plymouth: Marshfield-Scituate
2nd Suffolk: Charlestown-Chelsea
10th Suffolk: West Roxbury-South Brookline

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