Lehigh Valley Latino advocates consider lawsuit against new state legislative maps

Written by on February 15, 2022

Lehigh Valley Latino advocates consider lawsuit against new state legislative maps

By Tyler Pratt
February 15, 2022

Members of Allentown’s Latino community are considering a lawsuit over Pennsylvania’s new legislative districts. 

The new maps recently created more districts with high concentrations of people of color.

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But Victor Martinez, who owns La Mega radio in Allentown and several other Spanish-language radio stations, says the maps also reduced the number of Latinos in some minority-majority districts.

“I would have liked them to have been able to draw a map in a way where we could have an opportunity — or more opportunity — to elect Latino representatives and senators in the state,” Martinez said. 

Martinez notes that there are only four Latino representatives in the state Legislature. 

He’s been meeting with other local Latino community leaders over the issues to see if they can plot a plan to move forward under the new maps. If they can’t, he said, they must sue.

The head of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission responsible for the new maps says they are fair. 

Martinez points to Allentown’s 22nd House District. He says the way it’s drawn now makes it hard for Latino community leaders to run for office. 

“You’re going to need a lot of money,” he said. “Someone is going to come in with $50-$100,000 to make him or herself known in the community — to  go out to the Emmaus area, which is suburban, it’s white — and try to convince those to try and vote for you.”

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