Redistricting Reform in Pennsylvania

From The Intelligencer this article provides instances of legislators behaving better because of competition and Pennsylvania’s own work on redistricting reform:

DeWeese had been one of the biggest opponents of openness in state government.He could afford to thumb his nose at the public. His legislative district is drawn to make sure that he seldom faced a serious election opponent.

And if a bona fide challenger steps up, organized labor and other contributors can turn on the campaign cash spigot to help DeWeese financially drown out his opponent because Pennsylvania has no limits on campaign contributions.

Then in 2006, DeWeese got the scare of his political life.

He came within 1,000 votes of being tossed out of office due to public outrage over the 2005 legislative pay raise fiasco.

The competitive election, DeWeese admits, was a factor in his jumping on a crowded reform bandwagon and led to his joining the push for an enhanced open records law.

However, voters shouldn’t have to wait for a historic blunder like the legislative pay raise to produce competitive elections.

Lawmakers shouldn’t be allowed to gerrymander districts to guarantee long careers in either Harrisburg or Washington.

Rendell said he would like to see redistricting changes, but has shown no willingness to invest any political capital in reform.

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