The Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee held its reorganization meeting on Saturday June 16th in Harrisburg. The State Committee elected Nancy Patton Mills as Chair of the State Party, Sen. Sharif Street as Vice Chair, and Alexander Reber as Treasurer.
Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills issued the following statement:
“I’m very proud and honored to be the Chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. I appreciate the confidence of the state committee in electing me. I pledge to every corner of the commonwealth that I will work diligently to bring people together and into the Democratic Party. We are united, and Democrats across Pennsylvania are ready to elect Democrats up and down the ballot.
“It is my pleasure to serve with Senator Sharif Street as the Party’s Vice Chair and Alexander Reber as the Party’s Treasurer. I’m also proud to work with Janet Diaz as the Party’s Corresponding Secretary and Kathryn Huggins as the Party’s Recording Secretary.
“I’m proud to have Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey at the top of our ticket, a candidate in every Congressional district, and a record number of State House and State Senate candidates. Our candidates fight for our shared values and for all Pennsylvanians — we are going to fight for them.”
Senator Sharif Street ,the newly elected Vice-Chair, currently represents the 3rd PA Senatorial District which includes Philadelphia. Before his election to the State
Senate in 2016, Street was a practicing attorney and political adviser in Philadelphia.
Alexander Reber, newly elected Treasurer is an accountant with the Miller Dixon Drake firm. Additionally, Mr. Reber serves as the 1st Vice Chair of the Dauphin County Democratic Committee.
In our Democracy, the voters choose their representatives, these reps each have an area (or district) that they represent. The U.S. Constitution says that a census must count each state’s inhabitants every 10 years. This count is then used to determine (or draw) the districts, by allocating roughly the same number of voters to each district. This is done for both federal and state house and senate offices.
Pennsylvania law puts the state legislature in charge of redrawing the district boundaries based on the census: a bill defining the new districts is passed by the House and Senate and then signed by the Governor. The majority party can re-draw the boundaries of voting districts so that their party stays in power. The worst outcomes occur when one party controls both state houses and the governorship.
When the lines are being redrawn, sophisticated mapping programs and detailed voter data can identify exactly how to draw district lines so that the majority party stays in power. Counties and municipalities can be split into multiple districts, and more liberal urban areas can be combined with more conservative rural areas. This process of redefining federal and state electoral boundaries in order to determine the outcome of races is called gerrymandering. The outcome can lead to some very bizarrely shaped districts, for example, Pennsylvania’s 7th District, which was nicknamed, “Goofy kicking Donald Duck.”
The three main techniques used to obtain this advantage are “cracking”, “packing”, and a “sweetheart” gerrymander (also known as a “partisan handshake”).
• Sweetheart: the two parties work together to ensure that incumbents from both parties are re-elected.
• Cracking: the minority party’s voters are split up, distributing them into several districts so their votes are an irrelevant minority.
• Packing: putting an oversupply of the opposing party’s voters into a few districts. The outcome of this technique is that the party in power is giving up that one district’s seat, but securing the safety of many others.
For decades, and until the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional, racial gerrymandering diluted the power of minorities in urban areas, the South, and the Southwest. However, the Supreme Court has not declared political gerrymandering illegal, so cracking and packing persist.
Many analysts agree that gerrymandering protects incumbents, increases partisanship and affects campaign costs, particularly in the years before and after the census. That is why 21 states now have nonpartisan or bipartisan redistricting commissions. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently declared that the US Congressional Districts were unfairly gerrymandered, and imposed a newly drawn map for the 2018 election. This new (and temporary) map is an improvement (and MontCo is largely in one district). However, PA state assembly and senate districts were not impacted by that court decision and are still heavily gerrymandered.
In order to change the way that these maps are drawn, we have to have bills that are passed by PA house and senate prior to the 2020 census. Bills that were written to have a non-partisan commission redraw the maps (House Bill 722 and Senate Bill 22) were gutted in committee, and they now have little to do with the bills that were originally written. Communities across the state, including Collegeville, passed resolutions in support of this type of commission, but the Republicans were able to change the bills in committee.
If you want to make a change, please call your elected officials.
For more information about gerrymandering, click here.
For more information about the PA Supreme Court decision, click here.
Collegeville Democrats Invite You To Meet The Democratic Candidates
On The May 15th Primary Election Ballot!
Wednesday April 25, 2018 7:30 PM ~ 9 PM
Ursinus College Campus (Wismer Hall Faculty Dining Room)
Call 610-733-4329 ~ E-mail ~ email@example.com
Representative From Senator Bob Casey’s Re-Election Campaign
Representative From Governor Wolf’s Re-Election Campaign
4th Congressional District
Mary Jo Daley ~ Madeleine Dean
Shira Goodman ~ Joe Hoeffel
Lieutenant Governor Candidates
State Senate ~ 44th District ~ Katie Muth
State Representative ~ 150th Legislative District ~ Joe Webster
The event stage in Washington D.C with the Capital building squarely framed in the background. (MSNBC)
Hearing each of the young students speak out against gun control today in Washington D.C., I heard the speeches I have been waiting to hear from our “adult” politicians for years but have not heard. The speeches from students as young as 11 years old were elegant, forceful and logical. 11-year-olds gave speeches far more compelling than paid professional politicians with decades of public experience. Who was the last politician whose speech moved you to tears? And not just of emotion, but of joy for compelling arguments of truth so long absent. The arguments for gun control are so basic, even an eleven-year-old could not only comprehend it, but articulate it. Why can’t our 60- and 70-year old politicians grasp it?
If you hear politicians who say there is nothing that can be done about gun control, Republican or Democrat, reject them. If they don’t know what to do about gun control, educate them.
Aside from the fact that the Second Amendment does not – and never did – mean that every Joe Sixpack down the street can have a gun, there are plenty of common-sense things that can be done now, legislatively, at the federal, state, and local levels.
The first thing that can and should be done is to ban assault weapons. (A psychotic gunman would not have shot 17 people with an AR15 if he didn’t have an AR15.) Beyond banning assault weapons, there are many, many things that can be done to reduce gun violence. Here is a list of 22 things that can be done. So don’t think that nothing can be done about gun violence.
1.) Background checks before ALL gun purchases, including:
expelled from schools?
number of guns already owned?
social media threats?
animal cruelty history?
Ban on gun sales to fugitives from the law
2.) Close the gun show loophole
ALL gun sales and transfers should follow the same rules.
4.) Limit on the number of weapons a person can legally own or posses
5.) Limit on the amount of ammunition a person can legally own or possess.
6.) Prohibit gun sales to persons with a mental illness.
7.) Require a waiting period on gun purchases.
8.) Ban the sale, transfer and possession of automatic weapons.
These should not be legally sold to anyone whether they are mentally ill or not.
9.) Ban the sale, transfer and possession of semi-automatic weapons, including bump stocks.
These should not be legally sold to anyone whether they are mentally ill or not.
10.) Severe criminal charges for the parents of shooters who knew of the shooter’s mental illness and knew he had a gun in the house without reporting it to authorities.
11.) Criminal charges against gun stores, or others, who provide a gun to someone who uses it to kill someone.
12.) Criminal charges against an individual who knows of threats to kill someone and doesn’t report it promptly to authorities.
13.) Criminal charges against an individual in an investigative or authority organization who knows of threats to kill someone and doesn’t investigate it or promptly report to other relevant authorities.
14.) Charges against anyone who instructs minors how to shoot guns and then that minor shots someone.
15.) Raise the age to buy or carry a gun to 21.
16.) Require gun stores to report attempts to buy a large number of guns or large amounts of ammunition.
17.) Require a license for gun ownership – proving they have been trained on how to use a gun.
18.) Enact a ban on gun trafficking.
19.) Require guns in the home and other places be stored in a locked container.
20.) Encourage gun buy-back programs.
21.) Make it possible for local townships and boroughs to pass ordinances prohibiting gun stores from locating there.
22.) Pass laws to keep domestic abusers from possessing guns.
An Opinion by Dean Miller
(what it could look like)
– Proposal buried in the Department of Homeland Security funding bill.
– A bill has already passed the House of Representatives.
– The bill will come before the Senate in the near future.
– There are currently federal and state laws preventing military or civil officers anywhere an election is being held.
– DHS would be “assisted” by the king of the voter fraud myth, Kris Kobach, who specializes in voter suppression. He created Operation Interstate Crosscheck, a list of voters that has been used to purge voters from the rolls.
– This scheme arises after Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has disbanded, after failure to find examples of voter fraud, and accusations of attempted voter suppression. However, Trump didn’t shut down the investigation or acknowledge that voter fraud is a non-issue. However, Trump has now turned the task of creating the illusion of widespread voter fraud over to the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet-level agency that has access to much of the data the commission requested but couldn’t get from the states.
– This scheme arises after Trump said he wants to conduct a military parade in Washington, D.C.
– Department of Homeland Security includes the Secret Service.
– Department of Homeland Security also includes the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).