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Gov. Wolf Seeks Public Feedback On Redrawing PA's Congressional Map

Governor Tom Wolf
Governor Wolf addressing a concern about redistricting Pennsylvania's congressional map at Point Park University on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf visited Point Park University Thursday afternoon to seek public input on creating a less partisan congressional map. 

About two weeks ago, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled that the commonwealth's map is unconstitutional and must be redrawn by Feb. 9.

Wolf sat on a panel of professors and community advocates, including Suzanne Broughton of Fair Districts PA and Point Park University political science professor Nathan Firestone.  It was the third and last "listening session" held by the governor about redistricting.

Some attendees expressed concerns that partisan interests, in this case the Republican-controlled legislature tasked with creating the new districts, will never draw a map that isn't affected by politics. 

"Everybody is going to have his or her own opinion on what a fair map is, but I'm trying to figure out what we all think is fair," Wolf said. "What we've gotten so far isn't, and so we have to work on that."

In 2012, Pennsylvania's congressional map was redrawn to a series of unconventional shapes, including one dubbed "Goofy kicking Donald Duck." Democrats have argued the redrawing was done by the GOP to preserve the party's control in the state. Republicans currently hold 13 of the 18 congressional seats in the commonwealth, despite registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans.

Republicans must once again approve a new map. If they do this, Democrat Gov. Wolf will have until Feb. 15 to sign it. If not, the state Supreme Court will draw the new lines. 

Wolf said the "listening tours" have given him the chance to hear what Pennsylvanians envision for the future of the commonwealth's districts.

"It has to be fair, that's really important or we're going to lose our democracy," he said. 

The public can continue to submit their suggestions and concerns for the new congressional map on the governor's web site.