Aim for Fair, Nonpartisan Redistricting
As a resident of Bethlehem Township, PA, I want to emphasize the importance of redistricting that is fair, nonpartisan, and respectful of the communities in which Pennsylvanians reside. I am hearing concerns from both Lehigh Valley Democrats and Republicans that the Legislative Reapportionment Commission should address. I'll start with PA Sen. Lisa Boscola (D). She says that Harrisburg leaders are deliberately ignoring the Pennsylvania Constitution and plan to merge portions of Allentown and Bethlehem into one state Senate seat. "This will weaken both cities, school districts, and Northampton County. . . Bethlehem should remain united in the 18th Senatorial district," says Boscola. - The Northampton County Republican Committee (NCRC) is studying the impact proposed redistricting on Northampton County. Here are some of the committee's findings regarding PA Senate redistricting: The separation of small towns and rural municipalities from the influence is lost, eliminating the rural and small town legislative voice. - The Senate map appears to focus on 'population proportionality' at the expense of regional and community balance; not what a Senate is supposed to do. - The election of a Republican state senator is lost for Slate Belt residents. - The redistricting of the 18th and 14th districts smells of 'gerrymandering' in favor of the Democrat Party. The 14th district includes Allentown and Lehigh, Allen, and Moore townships, negating a possible Republican win in that district. Senate Redistricting Conclusion: It would be best if the senatorial districts were drawn horizontally, similar to the existing 18th and 40th, instead of vertically dividing Northampton County. - Finally, the new Senate legislative map should focus on ensuring a voice for Pennsylvania's rural and small communities.