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Pa. legislature, a Connecticut compromise?

Published March 03. 2012 09:01AM

Dear Editor:

More diminishing tax dollars are disrespectfully spent by legislators who serve political party and special interest entities instead of spending taxes on the needs of the citizens who elect them to efficiently conduct the affairs of the government; of, by and for "the people".

Every 10 years after the census is taken population numbers in the United States are recorded. There then is a need to divide the United States population by 435, the number of seats in the United States House of Representatives (the number of representatives remains constant at 435, and each representative is assigned an approximate equal number of people to represent). The same happens in PA and the 205 seats in the PA House of Representatives are also divided into the new PA population number result being the number of people each House member represents. Now comes the political "gerrymandering." The current political majority incumbents draw lines to assure an election victory in the PA House of Representatives and the PA Senate.

However, there is a great difference for determining the people to be represented by a United States Senator and a Pennsylvania Senator. When our federal government was organized there was a need for fair State representation in the Congress. The U.S. Senate makeup was decided by the "Connecticut Compromise" to have the Senate made up of 2 Senators from each of the 13 States, regardless of the number of people in any State. In selecting this compromise, little Rhode Island would have an equal vote in the United States Senate the same as the larger states. This assures that in the United States Senate the small states would have an equal voice forever. This does not happen in the PA Senate, similar to the PA House of Representatives, the 50 Pennsylvania Senators are also chosen to represent the people by dividing Pennsylvania's new population by the number 50, and again the political division (gerrymandering) ensues.

To streamline our Pennsylvania government I believe that our PA legislature should be made up of 67 Senators, one from each county, regardless of size, and each elected for six year staggered terms. This guarantees in one legislature chamber our beloved Summit Hill residents could never again be removed from our county for political representation purposes. The PA House of Representatives should be made up of 80 districts with each representative serving, according to population, approximately 120,000 citizens. The PA House representatives should be elected for four year staggered terms. In order to stop the political "gerrymandering" drawing of district lines, an independent demographical firm should be hired to study and decide the best makeup of each district. In this way populations with similar needs and goals would be joined into districts. Politics should not be a consideration.

In adopting this or something similar, annually millions of tax dollars could be saved not only in the reduction in the size of the legislature but also in election expenses saved. If our elected leaders are asking "we the people" to live on less, first they should take the lead and size down our state government. We cannot continue to afford Pennsylvania's legislature in its present form. Legislators, either serve the people or step aside and let someone else who is interested in doing the will of the people, instead of being interested in their own political career and pension.

How do you feel about this proposal, my fellow citizens? Let our representatives know!

Gerald Strubinger,

Jim Thorpe

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