The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 31, 2011

District lines for House, Senate are redrawn

JOHNSTOWN — 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.

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Controlling folks moving into city housing.
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