Keep Lehigh Valley cities in single districts
The proposed PA Senate redistricting needlessly divides the city of Bethlehem between two districts, 18 and the radically shifted 14, creating split representation between parts of a city of 80,000 (and of a larger area school district) in Senate districts 3 times as large. The same new district lines within the city (where none now exist) combine part of Bethlehem with neighboring (larger) Allentown--following county lines but dividing our city (Bethlehem is the only city in the Commonwealth located in two counties), and dilute Bethlehem residents’ representation. District 18 has, over the decades, included all or part of Bethlehem city and school district, but, when divided, split with the Allentown area District 16. This new districting plan not only serves the Republican incumbent in the 16th (which currently includes Allentown) whose district has been suburbanized in the new map, but also, disingenuously, "packs" the Democratic areas of both cities into the newly drawn 14th district, to improve Republican opportunities in nearby districts that will include larger proportions of Republican voters, including the now-divided former 18th. "If it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck . . . ." This is traditional partisan gerrymandering, and should not be countenanced by the Commission, under any guise, like creating minority districts (however appealing that rhetoric may sound), because, with any geographic representation (map drawing) the purpose and impact of district lines is to represent communities in the legislature. The purpose of representation, by definition, is always to win legislative votes in that representative body, that reflect the will of the majority—so that, as the saying goes, the voters pick the legislators, and not to allow the opposite—for the legislators to pick their voters.