– Last week, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC) approved a preliminary redistricting map for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The vote was 3-2, with Chairman Mark Nordenberg breaking the tie.
Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) issued the following statement regarding the extremely partisan House map and the commission’s highly questionable decision to approve it:
“My goal has always been to keep Carbon County and the 122nd Legislative District whole. The preliminary map does that by following the proper guidelines of creating contiguous and compact districts based on population.
“While I am pleased with the way the district I represent has been drawn, I am disappointed by the gerrymandered boundaries for numerous other House districts throughout the Commonwealth. This will merge countless rural districts into majority progressive urban areas – severely minimizing their representation.
“Nordenberg and the two Democrats on the commission very well know how to represent these districts fairly, but in many areas, that has not occurred. In the proposed House map, 12 Republican incumbents are pitted against each other, while only two Democrats are in the same position. Four other Republican House members have also been forced into districts with an overwhelming Democrat voter registration majority. Even the Princeton Project said the map leaned Democratic in terms of fairness and earned an “F” in competitiveness because of the fact most districts clearly favor one party over another.
“These maps were drawn by Democrats and rubber-stamped by Nordenberg, who has totally overstepped his bounds by manipulating the redistricting process to benefit his party. Through these very partisan actions, Nordenberg and others are conspiring to silence the voices of the people living in rural Pennsylvania.”
The LRC is made up of Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) and Nordenberg, the former chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh who was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
At its meeting, the LRC also approved the redistricting map for the Senate by a unanimous vote.
Heffley is urging citizens to examine the preliminary maps for themselves at redistricting.state.pa.us
, where they can also submit comments. The deadline is Jan. 18.