And while the new map would group Anne Arundel with the Washington suburbs, data shows that nearly 7,000 more Anne Arundel residents commute to Baltimore for work than to Washington.

Anne Arundel is currently represented by four House members, none of whom lives in the county.

In interviews across the state, many Marylanders were uncertain of the name of their representative in Washington and said they're not keeping track of the proposed changes. But when shown maps of the current and proposed districts, voters often reacted to the changes negatively.

"Anne Arundel County's needs are much different from Prince George's County's needs," said John Cook, 50, of Millersville, who was sipping iced tea at Kaufmann's Tavern, just east of Odenton.

Cook, who works in construction and frequently goes to Prince George's County on business, suggested that Anne Arundel County's cost of living is growing faster — Prince George's is already high — and that many neighborhoods in the Washington suburbs have been hit harder by the nation's foreclosure crisis.

He contends that it is difficult for lawmakers to represent disparate communities.

Emily Snellings, 36, a school social worker from Odenton, acknowledges the differences between the two counties but said their needs are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

"As long as [lawmakers] familiarize themselves with both areas and understand the differences, then I don't think it's a problem," said Snellings, a Democratic-leaning voter who says education and the economy are among her top concerns.

Another unusual pairing is shaping up in the 8th District, home to Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a rising star in Democratic politics on Capitol Hill. His district now comprises southwestern Montgomery County, but under the new plan would extend into conservative Carroll County and north in Frederick County to the Pennsylvania line.

All of Frederick and Carroll counties are now represented by Bartlett.

Jim Bauch, a 56-year-old contractor, shook his head as he viewed the proposed new map outside the bank in New Windsor, west of Westminster. He said he goes to Montgomery County occasionally for work but most of his neighbors do not.

"What do they call it, gerrymandering?" Bauch said. "I don't think [Carroll] is really connected to Montgomery County. Most people around here try to stay away from D.C."

Residents of Sykesville in southwestern Carroll County said the area doesn't really resemble Western Maryland or Montgomery County. Some commuters head toward Baltimore each weekday, they said, while others go regularly to Washington.

"That is just — that's off the wall," said Madeleine Blake, a retired Sykesville resident who has lived in the area for more than 25 years as she studied a copy of the map on Main Street.

As a Democrat, she said, she has no political objection to being represented by Van Hollen. But that doesn't mean she would be comfortable with the change.

"I'd be glad to have a Democrat," she said, "but I don't think that's the way to do it."

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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