Keep Etna in the 21st District

I am a council person for the Borough of Etna, currently in the 21st PA House District, and I am writing to express my concern for the plans to take Etna out of this district and place in the new 33rd District. If this change to the map goes forward, Etna Borough will be the only municipality in the Shaler Area School District to be outside of the 21st House District, and will have a separate State Representative than all of the other communities in the school district. At the borough level, we have a strong history of collaboration with our neighboring municipality of Millvale. These collaborations include a shared comprehensive plan, share zoning maps and land use ordinances, and mutual aid agreements between our first responders. We have recently collaborated on developing a shared library system for our two communities. Furthermore, in the past several years, we have formed a multi-municipal group of elected leaders and residents from Etna, Millvale and Sharpsburg known as the Triboro Ecodistrict. The group collaboration sustainable development projects and works to improve the sustainability, resiliency and social equity in all three communities. All of this work has been done with the support of the representative of the 21st district, both current and former, who has understood our unique challenges and goals for our future. The new maps place us into a district with our more rural and northern neighbors with whom we do not share a similar demographic or history of environmental and economic challenges. Our small community has worked hard over the last several decades to face these challenges and build a brighter future for our residents, and we have done this in lock-step with our neighbors in Millvale and the representative of the 21st district. To remove us from this district put an already disadvantaged community in an even worse position at a time when we are seeing positive change. I have received similar statements from my fellow council members who have stated: "I too, am very unhappy about breaking up the Triboro communities who have already put so much time and effort into collaboration and shared resources. Separating the communities that share a school district is detrimental as well. As a more urban community, we would be better represented within the 21st district, which has similar neighborhoods within the city and nearby. We are very different from communities further north, their strengths and weaknesses are not the same as ours. I am skeptical our new representative could serve our community as well as the one we currently have. " -Alice Gabriel, Etna Borough Councilperson "Separating these neighboring boroughs will impact the progress and partnerships that have been established recently as well as maintained for many years with one another. I would not want this to impact Etna's youth, as well as the others within the Shaler School District. Much work, effort and policy change has taken place over decades to help unite everyone within the school district to ensure equal opportunity to those living outside of the township. It would be very hard to experience these separations again, should they occur from redistricting." -Danielle Rothmeyer McELhaney, Etna Borough Councilperson I sincerely hope that Etna Borough can remain in the 21st House District so that we can continue to have strong representation of our interests in the PA House and will have continued support for the important multi-municipal work that we have been building on for decades.