Proposed Allegheny County House Districts

I’m a resident of Pennsylvania, living on the North Side of Pittsburgh (in East Allegheny, aka Deutschtown). I’m also a member of Rodef Shalom Congregation and support the written testimony submitted by William Madway on behalf of the nonpartisan Pennsylvania Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-PA) in pursuit of redistricting the PA House and Senate to end partisan gerrymandering, and create more opportunities for People of Color to have their voices represented in the General Assembly. The proposed map for the PA House opens the door for more minority representation, levels the playing field between the two parties, and provides districts that make much more sense for the people who live in them, by increasing the compactness of districts and reducing the number of county and other jurisdictional splits. However, I write separately to address minority representation in the proposed House map for Allegheny County. Under the Unity Maps (created by PA Voice in concert with communities on the ground), there would have been three House districts with majorities comprised of people of color based on total population, two of which would have a majority of eligible voters of color. In contrast, the maps proposed by the LRC include only two districts that are majority Black, Indigenous and People of Color based on total population and only one based on eligible voters of color. In addition, the proposed LRC House District 21 carves out Lockhart, Pressley, and half of Avery Streets from proposed House District 19, which includes the rest of my neighborhood of East Allegheny, along with the neighborhoods of Allegheny Central, Allegheny West, and the Central Northside. The fragmentation of proposed House District 21 unfairly separates me from North Side neighbors who share similar quality of life concerns in a densely-populated urban area, and denies people of color on these three streets from representation in the more diverse district proposed for House District 19. Thank you for your hard work and efforts to improve the redistricting process for all Pennsylvanians.