The Kemp Mill area’s Orthodox Jewish community and the services it frequents will be represented within one Montgomery County Council voting district.
On Dec. 7, the council adopted by a vote of eight to one a redistricting map that includes seven council geographic districts and four at-large districts. There are currently five geographic voting districts and four at-large ones.
In earlier versions of the map under consideration, Kemp Mill residents and the area’s kosher stores, schools and synagogues were in two separate voting districts, separated along Arcola Road.
The area now is completely within the boundaries of District 6.
Opponents of the early map said Kemp Mill was a “community of interests” that should not be divided. They voiced concern that their influence on the council would be diluted between two elected members of council.
District Six was reconfigured in such a way that it still remains a minority plurality district. Under the original map, splitting Kemp Mill meant that district had a 35.6 percent Hispanic population and a 29.9 percent white population.
Including new changes to that district, it will now have a 35.5 percent Hispanic population and a 30.7 percent white population.
Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who is running for Maryland lieutenant governor with Rushern Baker, called tweaks to the new map “democracy in action.”
Each of the seven districts had to contain about 150,000 residents. They had to be compact and contiguous, and ethnic and racial groups had to be distributed in such a way that they are not packed into one district or split up so much that their voices are diminished.
Councilmember Andrew Friedson cast the lone no vote. He was not happy that North Bethesda was placed with Silver Spring rather than with other Rockville Pike communities. He also wanted the council to pause before voting to allow for public comment.
“This was never going to be perfect. We knew that going in,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz.