– Gov. Tom Wolf has turned his back on public debate of the congressional redistricting process after he declined a public meeting to discuss the proposed citizen map, House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) and House State Government Committee Chairman Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) said.
“One of the fundamental constitutional obligations of state legislators and the governor is engaging in congressional redistricting in good faith. In this cycle, the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus led the most transparent congressional redistricting process in Pennsylvania history. That process concluded with the selection of a citizen map that was used as the basis for the plan now before the House and open for future negotiation with the governor,” Benninghoff said. “By refusing to negotiate this plan, either in public or in private, the Wolf administration is showing they have no interest in fulfilling one of the most basic functions of their responsibility to Pennsylvanians by ensuring they have adequate and legal representation in Congress.”
The map approved by the House State Government Committee as House Bill 2146
was created by Lehigh County resident Amanda Holt. Her map was selected because it was drawn without political influence; complies with constitutionally mandated criteria; satisfies equal population requirements; limits splits of townships, municipalities and other local subdivisions; and is comprised of districts that are compact and contiguous, all of which were highlighted as priorities by the majority of testifiers and residents throughout the committee’s extensive regional hearings and online public input process.
“The House State Government Committee should be commended for its diligence and efforts in advancing a congressional redistricting map that focuses on our citizens and that was developed through transparency and direct input from the public,” Cutler said. “Everyone has their own concepts of ‘fairness,’ which is clearly different depending on perspective and individual views. What is most important is that we follow the standards set forth in the Constitution, which this map does. I wish the governor would have taken this opportunity to participate rather than grandstand on principles that are not found in our Constitution and in some cases, only further promote partisanship.”
In the governor’s letter dated Dec. 28, 2021, to Cutler and Benninghoff, Wolf wrote “I intend to provide my review of proposed maps in a public forum, so that members of the General Assembly, as well as the public, can understand my evaluation process.” But when given the opportunity to meet in a public setting, he turned it down.
In his latest letter, dated Jan. 5, 2022, to Grove, Wolf wrote “I have already shared my comments on the proposed map in the attached letter,” referring to the December letter.
“I have news for the governor. A letter addressed to just two people does not in any way constitute a public forum and absolutely fails to even reach any level of transparency, let alone the transparency the governor continues to preach,” Grove said. “While the governor said he won’t attend the meeting, my invitation, as I said before, remains open-ended. I am more than happy to rearrange my schedule to meet with the governor at his convenience.”
In response to the governor declining to meet today, Grove send him a letter, which can be read by clicking here
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross
RepGrove.com / Facebook.com/RepSethGrove