The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the newly drawn boundaries for state House and Senate seats, starting with the 2014 election cycle.
One consequence of the ruling is that it will move the 5th House seat, now held by Greg Lucas, R-Edinboro, across the state into Berks County.
I talked to Lucas about the ruling yesterday. But in a statement released this afternoon, he goes into more detail about the redistricting plan.
Here are his written comments:
“I currently represent the 5th Legislative District covering parts of Erie and Crawford counties. As a result of the redrawn district lines, I will now live in the 3rd Legislative District currently served by Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Millcreek).
“Because of the change, I may lose my job. But to be honest, that’s not what’s important here.
“While the redrawn maps and my future as a legislator have gained media attention, the real story is the underlying reason behind the shuffle of legislative districts.
“The 5th District is moving from northwestern Pennsylvania to the eastern part of the state because our region has seen a population decrease during the past decade, while other parts of the Commonwealth are growing.
“When a state legislator could potentially lose his job, it’s front-page news and a top story on TV and radio. When a few factory workers are laid off or a small business shuts down, few people outside their immediate friends and families take notice.
“The two instances are directly linked. The loss of a legislative district will reduce our region’s clout in the state Capitol. There’s nothing we can do about that right now. The deal is done and the ink is dry.
“But these maps are redrawn every 10 years. If we’re going to get that legislative seat back in the future, we need to do something more important: Bring jobs and the residents they attract back to northwestern Pennsylvania.
“My job is just the latest victim in a decades-old tragedy that has affected too many local families. When jobs leave our region, families usually aren’t too far behind. They search elsewhere for their slice of the American Dream. If opportunity doesn’t knock locally, our residents are willing and able to track it down wherever it may be.
“I sought my current position knowing that there was a good chance the district would be moved when the lines were redrawn. People have asked me what I intend to do in the future and whether or not I will run against Bizzarro. There’s plenty of time to figure that out. My current term doesn’t run out – and the lines won’t move – until after the November 2014 general election.
“I’m focused on doing the job I was hired by my constituents to do – serve them locally and represent them in Harrisburg.
“At the same time, I am hopeful that my potential job loss will serve as a wakeup call instead of a metaphorical kiss goodnight. The fight for northwestern Pennsylvania’s future is far from over.
“We have some of the best-trained, hardest-working employees in the nation. We have some of the most innovative employers on the planet. Neither group should be ready or willing to throw in the towel.
“During the next year and a half – and any time I may be privileged to serve in the General Assembly beyond that – my focus will remain on growing existing businesses, bringing jobs to our area and reversing the trend of population loss in our region.
My job may be leaving, but there are too many jobs left to fight for to give up now. My greatest hope is that this becomes the moment when our region turned the tides and began its triumphant return to greatness. Our residents deserve nothing less.”
– John Guerriero