At last Thursday’s event in Allentown I asked State Rep. Eugene DePasquale how he thought his vote for the GOP Congressional redistricting plan might affect his support in the Lehigh Valley. It is one of the areas in Pennsylvania upset over being split. Traditionally the entire Lehigh Valley has been kept in a single district but now Easton and other areas of Northampton County have been sectioned off into PA-17. Charles Dent (PA-15) has represented it in the past.
The Republican Congressional redistricting plan gained considerable bipartisan support from Democrats because several powerful incumbents decided they liked the make-ups of their new districts and forced their local legislators to side with Republicans in Harrisburg. It was passed in the State Senate without a single public hearing and after its first two readings were waived. DePasquale was one of 36 Democrats to vote for it in the State House.
His explanation that he voted his District sounds fair and he added, off camera, that if someone feels they don’t wish to vote for him for Auditor General because of this vote that is their right.
The attitude that legislators are in Harrisburg, or Washington, for that matter, to vote their Districts is sad. If that were the case we wouldn’t need elections or legislators. We only need switchboards and robots sitting at desks pressing buttons according to feedback.
We elect these people to represent the values and beliefs we feel we share. We send them there to decide matters for the greater good, not only our little corners of the world. On a vote such as this we’d like them to look at the big picture and decide if the map represents the best interests of Pennsylvanians, not only those in York. I like DePasquale a lot but I was disappointed in both his vote and his explanation. Will I withhold my vote next November because of this? As he said, that is my right.