Harrisburg – May 7, 2012 – In his testimony before the state Legislative Reapportionment Commission today, state Sen. Jim Brewster urged the commission to retain a state Senate seat based in the Greater Monongahela River Valley.

Brewster explained that as a result of its position as a critical manufacturing center for various industries, including the burgeoning Marcellus Shale industry, the Mon Valley is in the midst of a sustainable economic recovery.

“The Mon Valley has a unique community of interest based in its dynamic historical role,” Brewster said.  “Keeping a seat in the region is about

retaining a voice for the region as it makes a turn around the economic corner.”

Brewster, who was elected to the Senate in a 2010 special election, is running unopposed for another term representing the 45th District.  The district’s current configuration includes 37 communities in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

The 45th District, now based in the Mon Valley, would have been moved to the Poconos in Northeastern Pennsylvania under the reapportionment plan rejected by the state Supreme Court on Jan. 25.

The court’s action forced the commission to act again and redraw the districts to reduce county and municipal splits.   The revised preliminary plan was adopted by the commission on April 12 by a 4-1 vote. It retained the 45th District as an Allegheny County seat.

In his presentation, Brewster thanked the commission for its plan to keep the seat in the region, asserting that the Greater Mon Valley “stretches from the heart of the valley through eastern and southern suburbs and is composed of the children and grandchildren of former residents now spread out into neighboring communities.”

Brewster, the former mayor of McKeesport, said the region is an economic entity that is “bound together by a strong thread of working families.”

The Legislative Reapportionment Commission is established by the state constitution and formed every 10 years to draw new state Senate and House district lines to reflect population shifts.   The commission is supposed to respect municipal boundaries and refrain from splitting counties or municipalities unless “absolutely necessary.”

Brewster argued that lines on the reapportionment map are able to be adjusted but “what cannot be changed is the character of the underlying communities and the people who are served by the districts that are drawn by the commission.”

Today’s public hearing is the second where members heard public reaction to the preliminary plan.


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