Dear Chairman Nordenberg and the LRC, I am Karen Gurmankin, retired social worker and former House of Representatives employee. I am currently a long time resident of Northeast Phila. I was born in Philadelphia and with the exception of a few years living in Washington, DC I’ve lived here most of my life. I’ve had the privilege through my work for a US Senator and 2 US Representatives to see how representative government and Democracy can work. Through my work as a clinical social worker in medical, mental health and insurance company review offices I’ve seen how policy or the lack of addressing policy and unfairness impacts constituents positively and negatively. We must on all levels of government understand that constituents, voters are as essential a part of the democratic process as those elected to office and therefore assure that all of us have a voice and the assurance that it will be heard…..all of us! Districts should be drawn with opportunity and access to voting as well as assurance that those elected understand that their oath of office commits them to serving all of their constituencies not just those of their own party. They should be drawn with as little partisan bias as possible and without bias toward incumbency and should take care not to separate logical entities, such as cities and urban areas and place them in counties other than their own. I am a members of the Pennsylvania Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. We are 40 synagogues comprising about 40,000 souls, and Jewish communities across the commonwealth uniting to advocate for fair and racially equitable legislative maps. Jewish sacred legal text teaches “a ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted.” Our faith calls us to advocate for maps that will provide all Pennsylvanians, especially marginalized groups and racial minorities, with adequate representation. As part of the group I would like to express gratitude to the LRC for your hard work and your efforts to improve the redistricting process. Thank you for holding hearings and making the process more transparent than in years past. We are especially grateful for your consideration and attention to racial equity. It is heartening to see maps that reflect the growth in communities of color and give minority voters more representation than in years past. We are paying close attention to the final map release and trust that you will follow through with your commitment to creating minority opportunity districts and to taking community comments into account. We urge you not to give in to partisan pressure to backslide on the improvements to ending partisan gerrymandering and creating opportunity districts in the House and to make necessary changes to Senate and certain House districts. *Despite explicit feedback from many citizens, including our partners at PA Voice, the Senate maps do little to provide fair representation for Latinos. In Philadelphia, the Latino community is split among four districts, whereas the People’s Maps (created by FDPA and endorsed by us) created an opportunity district in this area. We urge you to correct this injustice that has prevailed for too long by creating an additional majority minority district in Philadelphia. PA’s population has shifted significantly over the last ten years, declining in rural/western communities, and growing in more central and eastern cities. The LRC’s Senate map does not adequately represent these shifts. In Southwest and Central PA, the map draws many districts with populations significantly below what might be expected, while in Southeast PA, several districts are drawn with populations larger than one would expect. This means that individual voters in Southeast PA have less clout. The standard deviation percentages are horrible, seeming to favor rural areas and almost erasing any changes that should have taken place due to the reallocation of prisoners that was voted on earlier last year. The Senate map distributes the population inequitably, penalizing urban residents and minority communities. We urge you to correct this malapportionment and vote dilution by creating more districts in Southeastern PA. Thank you, Karen Gurmankin