FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Gerald Mullery
Keep the Greater Hazleton Area intact
HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery today testified before the Legislative Reapportionment Commission and urged it to keep the Greater Hazleton Area in one legislative district. He also asked the commission not to split Hanover Township into two legislative districts.
The commission's preliminary plan removes four of five Hazle Township wards and West Hazleton from the 116th Legislative District and places them in the 119th District, which Mullery represents. Hanover Township would be split between the 119th and 121st districts.
"I, along with the people and elected leaders of Hazle Township and West Hazleton cannot understand any circumstance that would require the separation of these two great communities from Hazleton City," Mullery told the commission.
Mullery said the Greater Hazleton Area is a community of common interest. Its local government officials work well together, and the area is served by its own private, nonprofit industrial/economic development corporation, Can Do, Inc., as well as the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce. He added the Greater Hazleton Health Alliance, a nonprofit corporation, serves the health care needs of the Greater Hazleton area.
"For decades, citizens of the Greater Hazleton Area have bemoaned the fact that they are treated like second class citizens, ignored or rejected by Luzerne County and state government officials," Mullery said. "Today, I stand up for them and ask that you correct your plan and provide the people of Greater Hazleton with a singular, strong voice in Harrisburg."
Mullery presented the commission with a plan that keeps Hazle Township in the 116th Legislative District. His plan also would place Hanover Township entirely in the 121st Legislative District.
Mullery added that as drawn, he believes the 116th and 119th legislative districts would require satellite offices to best serve their constituents. His plan would require no additional offices or cost to taxpayers.
He also said his plan gives constituents easier access to their legislator.
"Never has this been more important than now with gas prices hovering at $4 per gallon," Mullery said.
A plan prepared by the reapportionment commission last year was rejected by the state Supreme Court was rejected because it had too many municipal splits. As a result, it prepared a new preliminary plan and is accepting public comment on until May 14. The commission must take a final vote on the new plan after the public comment period. The new plan also is subject to legal challenges before the Supreme Court.