FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Gerald Mullery
Redistricting plan puts politics ahead of public service
HARRISBURG, Oct. 31 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery said the preliminary legislative redistricting plan approved today puts politics ahead of constituent service.
"We have helped thousands of residents of the 119th Legislative District with a variety of state issues and programs," Mullery said. "Many of them walk in to my Nanticoke office. But this plan advanced by Republican leadership stretches the district in a way that would make it difficult for people of the new 119th District to receive services from my office that they deserve."
The plan would remove Edwardsville, Larksville and Plymouth and Fairview townships from the 119th District, and add Dennison, Foster and Hazle townships, along with Freeland, West Hazleton, White Haven Jeddo boroughs. It takes what had been a compact district comprising communities south of Wilkes-Barre and stretches it into bedroom communities outside of Hazleton. In some cases, residents would have to drive more than 25 miles on winding roads to reach Mullery's office.
Mullery said the only way he could continue to provide the same level of constituent service in this expanded legislative district would be to add a second district office and additional staff at taxpayer expense.
Mullery said he believes the changes were made to protect freshman Republican state Rep. Tarah Toohill by removing some Democratic-leaning communities near Hazleton from her 116th Legislative District.
"The Republican leadership put politics before public service to protect one freshman legislator," Mullery said.
The Legislative Reapportionment Commission today voted 3-2 to approve the preliminary plan at a meeting in the state Capitol. Senate Republican Leader Dominic Pileggi, House Republican Leader Mike Turzai and former Superior Court Judge Stephen J. McEwen, a Republican from Delaware County, voted yes. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody voted no.
The plan is available on the Legislative Reapportionment Commission's website, www.redistricting.state.pa.us. A public hearing on the plan is set for noon Nov. 18 in the state Capitol. A public comment period on the plan ends Nov. 30. The plan does not need action by the legislature or governor to become final.