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County commissioners, others propose new district map

CRANBERRY TWP — A group of Pennsylvania residents, including two Butler County commissioners, on Monday submitted their proposed congressional map to the Commonwealth Court as part of that court’s look at the redistricting process.

Unlike proposals from the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf, this map — called the “Citizen Voters” map by the Butler law firm Dillon McCandless Coulter King and Graham, which represents the group — would not split Butler County into two or more congressional districts.

County commissioners chairwoman Leslie Osche and vice-chairwoman Kim Geyer as well as Sheriff Mike Slupe are among the residents represented in the “Citizen Voters” group. Other members of the group live in Allegheny, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Centre, Cumberland, Luzerne, Tioga, Washington and York counties.

The map submitted to the court includes Butler County in the 15th Congressional District, which would stretch from Armstrong County to Erie County and split Clarion County in two.

Districts proposed by the governor would split Butler County in the southwest, much like the current congressional map, while the General Assembly’s proposal would split the county down the middle.

“Unlike other maps we have seen, we all agreed the map must be fair and remove politics from the equation,” Osche said. “When you do that, it all falls into place.”

Members of the group boasted their proposal would split fewer school districts and municipalities than either governmental map.

Geyer said while there are still municipalities and counties split in their proposal, “this map does it when necessary to meet population demands, not the demands of politics.”

“From Washington, to Butler, Cambria, York and Centre, the current map makes unnecessary splits,” Geyer said. “We’ve corrected these shortcomings and built upon the framework put out by both Gov. Wolf’s reapportionment committee and the state legislature.”

The Commonwealth Court sought up to two proposed maps by all parties to an ongoing lawsuit regarding the state’s redistricting process that were due by the end of the business day Monday. The court will only issue an opinion, on Jan. 30, if the governor and General Assembly are unable to make an agreement by that date.