Letter: Barrar silences the people

This past week, our current state Rep. Stephen Barrar voted to silence our voices. Stephen Barrar voted to pick his constituents rather than let the constituents pick their representative.

This is not a new strategy to remain in power. This strategy started long ago and is most glaringly evident by Pennsylvania’s old 7th Legislative District map. In 2011, when Pennsylvania redistricted the congressional maps after the 2010 census, Stephen Barrar helped create one of the most heavily gerrymandered districts in the entire country. This map split municipalities, crossed five counties, and on more than one occasion was held together by the width of only one building. It became a national glaring example of the extent legislators will go to keep their seats. When confronted by Goofy kicking Donald Duck, Stephen Barrar’s response was, no one was paying attention in 2011. Integrity is what you do when no one is looking.

He continued the silencing of our voices again this week. Fair Districts PA has been working diligently over the last several years to remedy the systematic silencing of our voices, and their bill, House Bill 722, finally made it to the State Government Committee, of which Stephen Barrar is a member. The bill Fair Districts PA supported created an independent commission for redistricting. This fair bill was gutted by Stephen Barrar and his cronies. The independent commission was replaced with an unbalanced commission of legislators. The governor’s veto powers were removed. The state Supreme Court’s role would be stymied to throw out gerrymandered maps.

But we do not have to be a victim of Stephen Barrar and his campaign to silence our voices. Come out and vote on May 15 for candidates like myself who promise to have integrity whether you’re paying attention or not!

Cathy Spahr
Democratic Party Candidate for the 160th

 

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One Response to “Letter: Barrar silences the people”

  1. David Epstein says:

    Regardless of the party in power, partisan gerrymandering is despicable. The “gutting” of this bill actually makes partisan maps even more likely.

    Take a careful reading of the actual bill, as amended by Chairman Metcalfe and voted for by Rep. Barrar. With this wording, it is possible, even likely, that a commission of actual legislators could submit a “fair-appearing” voting map, and await the (irrelevant) comments made during a short (4 week) comment period. Then, on the last day of the comment period, the committee could substitute a completely gerrymandered map which would immediately have the force of law.

    There would be no recourse. According to the bill, not even the Supreme Court would have jurisdiction to overturn it.

    The bill is unacceptable. Anybody who votes for it, knowing what’s in it, is engaging in a power grab. Anybody who votes for it, WITHOUT a thorough knowlege of the contents, is unacceptably derelict in their duty to serve their constituents.

    Besides, the parliamentary action to take a bill co-sponsored by a bipartisan majority of the House members, and turn it into a “Trojan Horse” with no notification, is despicable.

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