Last week RAMP Government Affairs attended the Joint Legislative Hearing on Congressional Redistricting convened in Cranberry Township last week. A packed room of interested parties included county commissioners from western Pennsylvania, interested citizens, and members of the media. With a population that has not risen at the pace of other dramatic gainers such as states in the south and west, the results of the 2010 Census means that Pennsylvania will drop from having 19 members serving in Congress to 18.
for a Post-Gazette article covering the hearing.
Redistricting always is controversial. Depending on how one is affected, it's either "gerrymandering" or a a "political compromise." Concerns often are raised when a community is split between two (or more) Congressional Districts. This can mean a problem when it comes to obtaining government funding or assistance, or it can be a bona fide strength by having multiple Congress Members advocating for the same community or project.
to see how Pennsylvania's Congressional Map looks through the end of 2012.
For close-up view on the Congressional Districts that cover Allegheny County:
Still thinking, "eh, so what?" Don't forget as REALTORS® there is plenty that affects you at the federal level, such as Mortgage Interest Deduction, the definition of a Qualified Residential Mortgage, reauthorization of flood insurance, and GSE Reform to name just a few. It's important to RAMP Government Affairs that as deals on redistricting are made and lines carved, we are able to retain Members of Congress who are sensitive to our issues and have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the needs of the REALTOR® Party.
Wide and not so quiet speculation has the 12th Congressional District (Congressman Mark Critz, in the seat held by the late John Murtha) and the 4th Congressional District (Altmire) being redrawn in a way that pits Critz against Altmire in a spectacular primary battle. Try these two articles to get a sense of what is ahead:
Wondering how "gerrymandering" got its name? It's named after former Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry. Gov. Gerry had been seeking to eliminate the rise of Federalists in his state, and thus drew districts intended to give his team the advantage. Critics said the districts resembled salamanders, and thus the word "gerrymander" was created. By the way...Gov. Gerry did not
win re-election, but he did subsequently receive the job of Vice-President courtesy of President James Madison, after his first Vice-President, passed away. Apparently it was a rough gig, as Vice-President Gerry himself passed away two years later.