By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Even though we’ve known it was coming for some time, the official word that we will be losing one of our seats in Congress still comes as something of a shock.

Losing a seat is serious business because it means the loss of federal funding under distribution formulas based on population. It also shows how, even though we aren’t losing population the way we were for several years during the 1990s, we aren’t growing nearly as fast as other states with better weather, a cheaper cost of living, and government that keeps it that way.

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But you know me, I always try to see the silver living. And the brighter side of the census results is that the redistricting will accomplish what 20 years worth of Republican candidates could not – the unseating of one of our incumbent House members.

Not that they’re all worthless, mind you. Ed Markey is the sixth most senior member of the House, and when the Democrats regain control there eventually after the Republicans make a hash of things, he’ll be too powerful to lose. Likewise, Richie Neal out in Springfield has seniority and clout, and judging from the federal dollars that seem to find their way to Worcester, Jim McGovern is getting his work done as well.

Unless the map-makers on Beacon Hill decide to disrespect western Mass. by going after John Olver, that leaves mostly options here in eastern Mass., starting with Barney Frank, a hard-working but personally unpopular member who is said to be considering retirement anyway, so he can focus on his first love, mime.

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Another member his peers wouldn’t miss is Mike Capuano, who may give up his seat anyway to challenge Scott Brown in 2012, which, given Capuano’s run against Martha Coakley last winter, may be the best thing that ever happened to Scott Brown.

My guess is the map-makers may go after rookie rep Bill Keating, who has enemies up there, or maybe Niki Tsongas in the Fifth District.

But hey, legislators, leave John Tierney alone. Congress couldn’t survive the loss of his ever-steady ethical compass.

Listen to Jon’s commentary

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You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Jon Keller