Northeast Times

Changes could be in store for some House districts

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 twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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