by email, 7/14/17
The news is full of decisions pushed forward in both Harrisburg and DC with little reference to voters’ wishes. While polls may show an overwhelming number of voters in support or opposition of specific legislation, we continue to see leaders more interested in protecting special interests than in listening to constituents.
Last week we posted a video highlighting a few of the more than 200 informational meetings we’ve held in PA since January. We’re proud to be a non-partisan, volunteer-led organization, with supporters and volunteers from across the state and across the political spectrum. Take a look at Voices of Fair Districts PA, share it, and think about who you could invite to come watch it with you some summer evening. (And check the other videos on our Fair Districts PA Youtube channel. There’s plenty of good information to share).
We know that when election maps are drawn by partly leaders to protect their jobs and their party, voters AND communities lose their voice. Gerrymandering has diluted the representation of Pennsylvania municipalities and counties, allowing legislators to ignore local concerns while pursuing the agendas of outside interests. School districts and communities are chopped up to provide safe districts for incumbents and to allow party leaders to maintain political control. The leaders who draw the lines benefit while PA voters, communities and local economies are harmed.
Across the state, we have volunteers making this case in borough halls and county seats. They are presenting resolutions to municipal and county governing bodies and advocating for their passage. The resolutions call for fair, transparent and impartial redistricting done by an independent citizens commission.
From Erie to Bethlehem and from small boroughs to larger counties, citizens are demanding change. Fair Districts volunteers are flooding municipal meetings that they may never have attended before and engaging in their local communities. These volunteers educate and inform their local governments with presentations, data and sometimes petition signatures and email campaigns, supporting efforts to pass a resolution. This is true democracy in action!
Each resolution calls for a copy to be sent to the respective elected officials and party leaders. This means that a legislator is held accountable to his or her constituents to pass Senate Bill 22 and House Bill 722 to put the redistricting power in the hands of an independent citizens commission.
To date, 9 counties and more than 60 municipalities have passed resolutions and there are dozens more resolutions already in progress.
If no resolution has been passed or is in progress in your own county or municipality, you can visit our Fair Districts PA Resolutions page and fill out the “Get started with a local resolution” form (make sure to check the resolutions list first). Our State Coordinator for Resolutions, Jamie Mogil, will contact you with guidelines and materials and connect you with other Fair Districts PA volunteers in your area.
This is a genuinely grassroots effort. We’ve been told, many many times, that party leaders in Pennsylvania will never give up power without an outcry from citizens – all kinds of citizens – who believe democracy is bigger than any one party, and who insist that our leaders should serve all of us, not just their biggest donors.
We are funded by you and people like you.
And we’re counting on you to help us make the case for reform, in your townships, counties and in Harrisburg as well.
Thank you for being part of this work.
Fair Districts PA