Boscola Lambastes Final Map, Calls Redistricting Process ‘a Sham’

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18th Senate District Redistricting Map

Above, the final version of a new State Senate map approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. Communities in Lehigh County that are currently part of the 18th district, such as Fountain Hill borough, are part of a new 14th district (shown above shaded in purple) as part of the redistricting, which State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18) has condemned. To make up for the Lehigh County territory that was removed from the 18th district (shown above shaded in green), the politically conservative communities that comprise Northampton County’s Slate Belt and other municipalities were moved into it.

State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D), who represents Bethlehem, Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township in the Pennsylvania State Senate’s 18th District, condemned the senate Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s final map Friday, calling it “disgraceful.”

boscola voting reform

Credit: State Sen. Lisa Boscola's office

Sen. Lisa Boscola (D) represents parts of Lehigh and Northampton counties that comprise the 18th district in the Pennsylvania State Senate. (FILE PHOTO)

Boscola previously criticized the commission’s proposed redistricting for moving Fountain Hill, West Bethlehem and other communities that are currently part of the 18th into a new district.

A comparison of the preliminary and final LRC maps shows that while West Bethlehem was restored to the 18th state senate district in the final version, Fountain Hill was not, along with the rest of the Lehigh County municipalities that are currently part of it.

They now belong to the newly-created 14th senate district, which includes Allentown and other municipalities comprising a swath of real estate through the center of the Lehigh Valley.

Below is the full statement Boscola’s office released Friday:

Disgraceful! These Senate maps are nothing more than a schizophrenically, Harrisburg-drawn, back-room assault on the Lehigh Valley. It should really come as no surprise to any of us, because for more than three decades Lehigh Valley communities, (and) especially Northampton County voters, have been disrespected as the political playground for faceless powerbrokers from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

Sadly, it no longer surprises me when the 18th district is butchered during redistricting. I believe it is nothing more than political retribution for my independent voice and my outspoken support for a fair redistricting process that would eliminate back room deals and give the power to the people, not the politicians. Or perhaps it is because Northampton County is a swing county that boasts a lot of registered Independents that it is routinely disrespected. I suspect it is a combination of both. And shockingly, in these final maps the leaders in Harrisburg moved the 14th district, home to the only registered Independent, as further proof that they use the power of the pen to eliminate independent voices.

At the outset, this process was celebrated by many as open and transparent; but let’s be honest, it was nothing more than a sham. A complete unethical disregard of the Pennsylvania Constitution! The LRC ignored the proposed maps from independent groups like Fair Districts and the compelling testimony from residents of the Lehigh Valley, openly encouraging input only to have it fall on deaf ears.

How can we stop politicos from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh who clearly have zero regard for our region and its constituents from gerrymandering the Lehigh Valley? When will enough be enough?

The 18th senate district as it is currently drawn includes:

Northampton County
Bethlehem (Northampton County portion)
Bethlehem Township
Easton
Freemansburg
Glendon
Hellertown
Lower Saucon Township
North Catasauqua
Northampton
Palmer Township
Stockertown
Tatamy
West Easton
Williams Township
Wilson

Lehigh County
Bethlehem (Lehigh County portion)
Catasauqua
Coplay
Emmaus
Fountain Hill
Hanover Township
Salisbury Township
Whitehall Township

Replacing the Lehigh County territory removed from the 18th district in the final map will be the municipalities that make up the northeastern part of Northampton County, including the politically conservative communities collectively known as the Slate Belt.

To view the preliminary and final state senate maps in further detail, visit the state’s Legislative Guide to Redistricting in Pennsylvania site.

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