The state Legislative Reapportionment Commission approved a preliminary plan last week that doesn’t make many changes to local Senate districts, but does dramatically alter several area districts in the House of Representatives.
The districts of Sens. Tina Tartaglione (D-2nd dist.), Shirley Kitchen (D-3rd dist.) and Mike Stack (D-5th dist.) remain largely the same. The preliminary plan moves seven divisions in the Bustleton area in the 63rd Ward from Stack to Kitchen, but the final map could move those divisions back to the 5th district.
A public hearing will take place on Nov. 18 in Harrisburg. The final plan will be determined by Nov. 30.
As expected, the preliminary plan moves the 169th Legislative District to York County. House Republicans and Democrats traditionally move two seats apiece. The GOP figured it was a good time to move the 169th, since Rep. Dennis O’Brien was expected to win a City Council seat on Tuesday. Polls closed after the Times went to press.
In all, there are 203 seats in the House. Republicans and Democrats allow members from the minority parties in counties to generally draw maps to their liking.
Thus, Democratic lawmakers from places such as Lycoming, York and Lancaster counties carve out their districts first. In Philadelphia, Republicans start the process.
Assuming O’Brien is elected to Council, Reps. John Taylor and Tom Murt will be the only Republicans in the Philadelphia delegation.
Murt’s 152nd district currently includes four heavily Democratic divisions in Philmont Heights, but he’s worked hard in that area and actually carried the city portion of his district last year.
The new plan gives those divisions to Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-170th dist.).
Murt gains nine divisions in Bustleton. The 177th district, represented by Taylor, changes a great deal. He gains a bunch of divisions in Tacony and Mayfair while dumping the increasingly Democratic area of Juniata. Boyle, who chairs the House Democratic Campaign Committee, is already seeking a challenger for Taylor, whose final district could include more of the 64th Ward.
Veteran Rep. Mark Cohen (D-202nd dist.) will have a new-look district, taking divisions in the 64th and 65th wards in Mayfair and Holmesburg.
Freshman Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172nd dist.) will lose much of his former district to Taylor and Cohen. In 2000, the 172nd district consisted of the 55th, 62nd and 64th wards. The 62nd Ward was removed the following year, along with seven of the 29 divisions in the 55th. The new plan includes just two divisions in the 64th Ward from the way it looked 11 years ago.
“This is the preliminary plan,” Boyle insisted. “I’m not happy losing Mayfair and Holmesburg. A lot could change, or very little could change.”
The move of the 169th district meant that Reps. Brendan Boyle, Mike McGeehan (D-173rd dist.) and John Sabatina Jr. (D-174th dist.) had to absorb that territory. Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, a Republican from neighboring Bensalem, decided to stay in Bucks County.
Kevin Boyle took some of the areas given up by Sabatina and Brendan Boyle, his older brother. The 172nd will consist of Fox Chase, Burholme, Lawndale, Rockledge and portions of Bustleton and Castor Gardens. It resembles the old 176th district once represented by Chris Wogan, who is now a Common Pleas Court judge. The district was moved 10 years ago to Monroe County.
Brendan Boyle’s district now consists largely of Somerton and Parkwood.
Sabatina loses all 22 divisions in the Castor Gardens-based 54th Ward and will now represent areas in Holmesburg and Morrell Park.
McGeehan’s district moves north to include the Far Northeast.
The 179th district, which was generally based in Feltonville and Hunting Park as recently as 2000, will now be entirely in the Northeast. The incumbent is Democrat Tony Payton.
Rep. Dwight Evans (D-202nd dist.) will continue to represent portions of Lawndale and Crescentville.
Rep. Larry Curry (D-154th dist.) loses his one division in Burholme, but picks one up in Lawndale/Crescentville.
The 180th district, represented by Democrat Angel Cruz, gains one division in Northwood.
The 201st district, represented by Democrat John Myers, gains a division in Crescentville. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org