Local Legislators Spared By New State House Maps
Nick Kotik and Jesse White were supposed to have their districts combined until the state Supreme Court threw out the maps.
But that changed when the state Supreme Court threw out those maps and forced legislators to redraw the districts that the justices ruled were gerrymandered. Lawmakers unveiled preliminary maps last week that keep Kotik and White in separate districts so they won’t have to compete against each other one day.
“If that’s what I’m getting, I love it,” Kotik said of the preliminary map that moves his district farther north but keeps the core intact. “I’m very happy with it. It definitely re-energizes me. I’m very enthusiastic.”
The map, which still must be formally approved by the House and Senate, gives Kotik new areas in Ben Avon, Kilbuck and Emsworth, while moving his representation away from South Fayette, Bridgeville and Heidelberg.
Those towns, plus Collier Township, will be picked up by White, a Democrat living in Cecil. White’s area shifts more into Allegheny County and away from Hanover, Avella and Chartiers in Washington County.
White said he’s looking forward to having more constituents in suburban Pittsburgh.
“I feel like it’s an area I know well,” White said. “I’m comfortable with it.”
The districts are more compact than before and contain full municipalities rather than being sliced and diced around political groups. Both say that’s a good thing for their constituents.
“It’s a pretty fair map,” White said. “It’s always easier when you represent an entire community.”
The only question now is when the new districts will be approved and how soon after will they go into effect. White is predicting they’ll continue to use the current districts until after the 2014 election.
Kotik is being challenged in this year’s Democratic primary by McKees Rocks Councilwoman Maribeth Taylor, and the winner will face a Republican Aaron Kime in the general election. However, White is running opposed in both contests.