CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County avoided a three-way split Friday afternoon when the state’s second redistricting plan was approved by the five-member Legislative Reapportionment Committee, according to Commissioner Chairman John A. Sobel.
Clearfield County lost the 74th House District to Chester County. And, under the new plan, it will share the 73rd House District with Cambria County and the 75th House District with Elk County.
“It’s not a perfect map, but it achieves most of what Clearfield County requested, “said Commissioner Mark B. McCracken. “. . . Essentially, the majority of the 73rd House District is shifted to Clearfield County and approximately 75 percent of the population of the new 73rd House District is based in Clearfield County.”
According to him, Clearfield County has basically been split into halves with the northern half in the 75th House District and the southern half in the 73rd House District. He said the 73rd House District “mostly mirrors” the former 74th House District and encompasses Clearfield, Curwensville and surrounding areas as well as the entire Moshannon Valley.
“Rural southern Clearfield County stays intact,” said McCracken. However, he didn’t favor the map’s splitting of Lawrence Township with the Plymptonville precinct in the 75th House District and Hyde, Golden Rod and Glen Richey in the 73rd House District.
In addition, he didn’t necessarily favor the 73rd House District extending into the northwest corner of Cambria County. But he didn’t believe this could have been avoided, because it needed population to bring this house district up between 61,000 and 65,000.
“It’s not the perfect map, but it is certainly a far cry better,” said Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen. “It is important to note that Clearfield County will still have a voice and representation at the state level. It’ll continue to allow our people to elect someone who share the same issues.”
Robinson-McMillen said if the county had been split three times, the commissioners were prepared to challenge it. The commissioners currently don’t have any plans of challenging the approved reapportionment map.
“The previous plan wasn’t just renumbering, and house districts were being created to sever the 74th House District, “said Solicitor Kim Kesner. “. . . Our unified voice surely did have an effect. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we’re going to get.”
McCracken thanked Kesner for his efforts in compiling legal arguments and his testimony. He was also grateful to the county’s bipartisan effort, as it worked together in the best interest of their citizens.
More specifically he thanked Democratic State Committee member Terry Noble and Republican State Committee member Susan Williams and State Rep. Frank Burns, D-72 of Cambria and Somerset counties for offering testimony at the reapportionment hearing. He said Burns’ testimony convinced the commission that the 72nd House District should not stretch from Johnstown to Clearfield.
Lastly, McCracken thanked the commission’s panel members Sen. Dominic Pileggi, Sen. Jay Costa, Rep. Mike Turzai, Rep Frank Dermody and Judge Stephen J. McEwen Jr. for hearing the county’s testimony and making the modifications to the final map.
Click 2012 Revised Final Plan to view a map of Clearfield County’s House Districts.