Mayor Comitta to PA Reapportionment Commission

May 3, 2012

State Reapportionment Commission Hearing
Testimony by Mayor Carolyn Comitta
Borough of West Chester

Good afternoon, honorable members of the Reapportionment Commission. I am Mayor Carolyn Comitta. Once again, I bring you greetings from the citizens of the great Borough of West Chester!

On behalf of the people of West Chester, I would like to thank you for listening to our appeals and for redrawing a legislative map that keeps the Borough of West Chester wholly within one state House District.

When I testified before you on November 23rd, I felt like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, trying to undo the wrong that was destined for my town. I went into politics, not for myself, but to do the right thing for the people of West Chester. Thank you for making a decision that was right for West Chester and not politically expedient.

Keeping the Chester County seat in one district is the right thing to do for the people of West Chester, and for our neighbors. If the Borough could function as an “island” in the region, then my testimony would end with my sincere thank you to the Commission.

However, no man is an island, and no municipality functions or flourishes on its own, either. The Borough serves as the regional urban center for social, legal and financial services, culture, higher education and healthcare. Our future is inextricably intertwined with the health of our municipal neighbors. Therefore, I offer, several functional and Constitutional concerns about the lack of contiguousness and compactness of the 156th. Our attorney, Sam Stretton, is unable to be here today, so I will present these objections to the revised preliminary plan on his behalf.

In addition, I am pleased to have Daniel Colon, a West Chester University student, with me today, who will testify on the revised preliminary map and the detrimental impact of splitting the University among three districts.

As an alumna of WC State College, and Mayor to those students who live in the Borough – that is, close to half of the students who are enrolled there – I am very concerned about the effects of significantly diluting the voices of theses students and scattering them across three legislative districts and fully support the comments of Daniel Colon.

We believe it is “absolutely necessary” to keep the Borough together — and to keep its State University together — under one House District in order for us to have the best chance of not just surviving but flourishing into the 21st century.

Our future remains in your hands. The people of West Chester thank you once again, for your thoughtful consideration. Thank you.