Lancaster County Senate Districts - adjust lines

Comments to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission Regarding Preliminary Senate Map My name is Amy Ruffo. I am a resident of Lancaster City. I submitted a testimony prior to the preliminary maps being announced. I believe the testimony to be relevant to the preliminary map. I request that the Legislative Reapportionment Commission rethink how Lancaster County’s Senate districts are drawn. I strongly encourage the LRC to consider Places 2040 in reviewing the makeup of our communities, business, and municipal connections. The Lancaster County Board of Commissioners adopted a county comprehensive plan, Places 2040, in October 2018 after conducting significant civic engagement with residents, business and municipal leaders. The plan defines 8 priorities identified by Lancaster County residents: Managing Growth, Urban Places, Housing Choice, Employment, Transportation, Parks, Trails and Natural Areas, and Thinking Beyond Boundaries. Additionally, character zones are defined: Urban Core, Urban, Suburban, Rural Community, Agriculture, and Natural. Many of those priorities are impacted by state and local laws. The character zones have unique challenges and voters in those defined zones likely have concerns about their community that are similar. I draw your attention to the Senate People’s Map submitted by Fair Districts PA. It proposes three senatorial districts for Lancaster County that align in many ways with Places 2040. It keeps much of the Urban core, Urban and Suburban areas within a district and most of the Rural community and Agriculture in two districts. Natural areas are located across the county. Lancaster City and the municipalities immediately surrounding it is the metro core of our county. City residents are impacted by decisions made by municipalities directly to the west, north and south, and vice versa. The Senate People’s Map keeps a large portion of farmland communities within two districts, allowing voters in those communities to elect a candidate focused on policies that most impact their concerns. At the same time, it gives residents in Lancaster City and the metro core the opportunity to elect a candidate who will focus on priorities relevant to the metro core region. The People’s map gives Lancaster’s metro core the possibility of a competitive primary and general election. It gives appropriate weight to the metro core and rural areas - allowing these unique communities to have a voice in who represents them in Harrisburg. Lancaster County has had a moderate growth rate. The increase in population is reflected in the three senatorial districts. Precincts and municipalities are not split with the exception of East Lampeter. The People’s senate district in southern Lancaster County shares a senator with Chester County. The district makes sense as the Octorara School District crosses county boundaries and stays within the senate district boundaries. The preliminary LRC map also gives Lancaster county three senate districts. This map acknowledges the moderate population growth by adding a district. However, it negatively impacts the urban core by placing it with most of southern Lancaster county municipalities and splitting the surrounding metro core municipalities between two districts. In August 2021 the Lancaster Newspaper reported our suburban townships saw the most gain. In particular those close to the city of Lancaster. As a city resident, the majority of our family activities take place inside the ring I’ve outlined in the graphic below(see linked google doc) - education, medical, shopping, business and entertainment. This is the Lancaster county metro region. Dividing it will fracture the region's ability to vote for a candidate that will put the urban/metro region interests on equal footing of our rural neighbors. Gerrymandering is the manipulation of district lines to protect a party or individual (candidate or incumbent). Incumbent protection is not in the constitution and should not be prioritized over other criteria. Perhaps the Senate map was developed by caucus interests more so than the people of PA. I agree with Chair Nordenberg: the “main goal of the Constitution is not to ensure that there is a fair fight between the leaders of the two political parties every ten years but, instead, to facilitate what will be a good reapportionment result for the people of Pennsylvania.” I ask the Legislative Reapportionment Committee to redraw Lancaster County Senate Districts for a good reapportionment result for the people of Lancaster County. Respectfully submitted, Amy Ruffo link for full text with images and links for elements mentioned above.