New redistricting maps miss mark for Latinos, critics say

Written by on December 28, 2021

New redistricting maps miss mark for Latinos, critics say

By The Associated Press
December 28, 2021

An effort to reflect the rapid growth of Pennsylvania’s Hispanic population in newly drawn districts for the state’s predominantly white state Legislature is drawing criticism that it didn’t accomplish that mission.

Instead, critics say proposals from the five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission actually narrowed opportunities for Latinos.

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Victor Martinez, the owner of La Mega radio in Allentown who testified twice during commission hearings, says the commission created more districts that favor minority candidates generally, but not necessarily Latino candidates.

Carol Kuniholm, the chair of Fair Districts PA, says a new Senate district in Allentown actually has fewer Latino residents than the existing district, while it splinters a corridor connecting fast-growing Latino communities.

The addition of a Lehigh Valley senator splits both Allentown and Bethlehem into different Senate Districts — a move that drew the ire of state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton/Lehigh, who has pledged to fight it.

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