A proposed shift in Pennsylvania’s legislative boundaries means thousands of residents in the Cambria-Somerset area may have a new state representative or senator by next year.
The changes, which received preliminary approval Monday from the state’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission, have the biggest local impact in Somerset County.
That’s because two Republican senators from the west would take over most of the county, with Democrat Richard Kasunic being bumped out.
Kasunic joined the chorus of Democrats criticizing the plan, which moved several seats traditionally held by Democrats from the Pittsburgh area into eastern Pennsylvania.
“It is not something that I wanted,” Kasunic said.
“It is not something that I am happy with.
“I would hope there may be some reconsideration. I would hope, as we continue down the road in this process, we could change things.”
The senator from Dunbar, Fayette County, has represented a lion’s share of Somerset County since he was first elected in 1994. He said the first thing people wanted to know during that campaign was if he would be visible in Somerset County. He believes he has worked to prove his commitment to Somerset.
“I became very attached to that community,” Kasunic said. “I made a lot of friends there. They are like a part of my family.”
Kasunic’s 32nd district would shift west, losing all of its Somerset County territory, while Senate districts 39 and 41 would assume that ground.
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Proposed changes for area lawmakers
A look at the proposed boundary changes for the area’s state legislators:
State Senate 32nd district (Democrat Richard Kasunic).
Moving west to include all of Fayette and Greene counties and parts of others.
Notable losses: Currently covers much of Somerset County, which now would be split between Senate districts 41 and 39.
Nobable gains: All of Greene County.
State Senate 35th district (Democrat John Wozniak).
Would cover all of Bedford and Cambria counties and parts of Clearfield and Clinton counties along with Paint and Windber boroughs in Somerset County.
Notable losses: Conemaugh Township and Benson Borough in Somerset County.
State Senate 39th district (Republican Kim Ward)
Would cover part of Westmoreland County and part of Somerset County including Addison, Allegheny, Black, Brothersvalley, Elk Lick, Fairhope, Greenville, Jefferson, Larimer, Lower Turkeyfoot, Middlecreek, Milford, Northampton, Southampton, Stonycreek, Summit and Upper Turkeyfoot townships and Addison, Berlin, Callimont, Casselman, Confluence, Garrett, Indian Lake, Meyersdale, New Baltimore, New Centerville, Rockwood, Salisbury, Seven Springs, Shanksville, Ursina and Wellersburg boroughs.
State Senate 41st district (Republican Don White).
Would cover all of Armstrong and Indiana counties; part of Westmoreland and Clearfield counties and part of Somerset County consisting of Conemaugh, Jenner, Lincoln, Ogle, Paint, Quemahoning, Shade and Somerset townships along with Benson, Boswell, Central City, Hooversville, Jennerstown, Somerset and Stoystown boroughs.
State House 59th district (Republican Mike Reese).
Would cover parts of Westmoreland and Somerset counties.
Notable additions: Addison, Lower Turkeyfoot, Upper Turkeyfoot, Middlecreek, Jefferson and Milford townships, along with Confluence.
State House 69th district (Republican Carl Walker Metzgar).
Would shift east, picking up much of Bedford County including Bedford and Breezewood.
Notable losses: Stonycreek Township, Indian Lake, Jennertown, part of Jenner Township.
State House 71st district (Democrat Bryan Barbin).
Would cover Johnstown and its surrounding suburbs, including Conemaugh, Richland and Stonycreek townships along with Daisytown, Dale, East Conemaugh, Ferndale, Franklin, Geistown, Lorain, Southmont and Westmont boroughs.
Notable additions: Adams Township, Scalp Level Borough.
Notable losses: None.
State House 72nd district (Democrat Frank Burns).
Would cover southcentral Cambria County and much of northern Somerset County; also Seward area in Westmoreland and part of Indiana County.
Notable losses: Ebensburg, Cambria Township.
Notable additions: Summerhill, South Fork, Seward and Ehrenfeld.
State House 73rd district (Democrat Gary Haluska).
Would cover most of central and northern Cambria County.
Notable losses: Adams Township, Summerhill and South Fork.
Notable additions: Ebensburg, Cambria Township.
– Some of this information was provided by state Rep. Gary Haluska