At the May 9, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) public meeting, an anti-gerrymandering, PA Congressional Redistricting Resolution proposed by Fair Districts PA was passed by a 4 to 1 vote. Supervisor Kyle Davis cast the one "No" vote (see below for the entire Resolution).
One issue that was discussed extensively was the creation of a "truly independent citizens redistricting commission devoid of political motivation or partisanship." Mr. Davis was "not clear" on how this commission would be set up. In comments before the BOS, Mare Kremser, who works for Fair Districts PA, explained how members of the commission would chosen (see video below).
After hearing the comments, Mr. Davis said "I do agree that there's an issue. I think the system as it exists might be tweaked. I don't want to see it go from a legislative process to a commission of political appointees."
Chairman Phil Calabro stated that "This is not a commission of perfection...redistricting is a seesaw. It's always changing depending on who's in power. We just want to see better transparency."
Copies of the Resolution will be sent to various government officials (see list at the end of the Resolution).
A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP, BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, IN SUPPORT OF A CITIZENS COMMISSION FOR LEGISLATIVE AND CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING
WHEREAS, the citizens of the Township of Newtown and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania deserve a fair, fully transparent, impartial and depoliticized process of the decennial drawing of state legislature and congressional districts of near equal population; and
WHEREAS, legislative and congressional redistricting has at times resulted in gerrymandered districts that favor one political party over others; and
WHEREAS, such gerrymandering of legislative and congressional districts has worked at times to the detriment of our representative democracy; and
WHEREAS, the creation of a truly independent citizens redistricting commission devoid of political motivation or partisanship will: ensure a fair, transparent, and accurate legislative and congressional redistricting process that respects political subdivisions; prohibit districts from being drawn to favor or discriminate against a political party or candidate; require the use of impartial and sound methodology when setting district boundaries; require public input; and fully comply with the constitutional requirement that "no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward" be divided "unless absolutely necessary,"; and
WHEREAS, legislation to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to reform the decennial legislative and congressional redistricting process with the intent of using fairness and sound methodology in a non-partisan fashion is required to ensure these reforms.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors does hereby support legislative efforts to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to assign the decennial task of both legislative and congressional redistricting to an independent citizens redistricting commission; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon all those elected officials and party leaders in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who represent the citizens of the Township of Newtown (see list below) to publicly announce their support of and commitment to work towards passage of such legislative efforts, and that a copy of this resolution be delivered to each of them.
- Governor Tom Wolf
- Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack
- Attorney General Josh Shapiro
- Acting Secretary of Commonwealth Robert Torres
- United States Senator Bob Casey
- United States Senator Pat Toomey
- United States Representative Brian Fitzpatrick
- Pennsylvania Senator Charles McIlhinney
- Pennsylvania Representative Perry Warren
- Robert G. Loughery, County Commissioner
- Charles H. Martin, County Commissioner
- Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, County Commissioner
- Jack Hanna, Interim Chairman, Democratic Party of Pennsylvania
- Val DiGiorgio, Chairman, Republican Party of Pennsylvania
UPDATE (June 18, 2018): Newtown Township Manager Kurt Ferguson received a letter from Governor Tom Wolf in response to this resolution. "Thank you for contacting me regarding Newtown Township's resolutions regarding fair congressional redistricting," said Wolf. "Listening to local elected officials and community leaders is the best way for me to understand the complex and challenging issues you each face every day as you strive to build stronger communities and create opportunities for your constituents...I will certainly keep your resolution in mind as we continue to work to remove outdated and unfair policies that make voting too difficult, make special interests too powerful, and make politicians less accountable."
Posted on 11 May 2018, 01:41 - Category: Resolutions