Councilman David Ball proposed the idea Monday night through a resolution that would’ve asked the state to move the township from the 37th state Senatorial District that snakes across the South Hills of Pittsburgh and into Solobay’s 46th Senate district.
Ball pointed to the fact that Peters Township is the only community in Washington and Greene counties that is attached to the South Hills district in the 2012 redistricting plan. He suggested the community would have a “significant voice” with state and county agencies if they were included in Solobay’s district instead.
“This, over the years, has presented some problems,” Ball said. “We have a very hard time getting attention from Washington and Greene counties, especially from organizations such as PennDOT and the DEP. It would make a lot more sense to be in the district continuous to us.”
The resolution ultimately failed 2-to-5, with only Ball and Councilwoman Monica Merrel voting for it. Even if it had passed, the state would have made the final decision about any redistricting changes.
Still, the discussion raised issues about whether people in Peters Township feel more connected to Washington County or the South Hills.
“I’m ambiguous on this,” Councilman James Berquist said. “I can see the advantages and disadvantages. But I can see how we have a lot more in common with the 37th district (in Allegheny County) than the bottom of Greene County (in the 46th district).”
Councilman Robert Atkison said he preferred to stay with an “unknown” senator in Smith than the “known” commodity of Solobay. Both are Democrats. Smith won election to the seat last fall after former state Sen. John Pippy resigned from the seat.
“The known is not my favorite direction to go, if you know what I’m saying,” Atkison said. “I don’t feel like we’re being shortchanged. We’re part of the Allegheny County (state House district) with John Maher.”
The newly drawn state House and Senate district are awaiting final approval from the state before being implemented.
Would you rather be represented by Sen. Smith or Sen. Solobay? Do you feel more connected with the South Hills or Washington County? Tell us in the comments below.