All posts by bphifer

Reproductive rights are on the ballot in November

It was a familiar refrain during the presidency of Donald Trump – his actions may not have been surprising, but they were still shocking.

For those of us aware of the leaked Supreme Court draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the Court’s official decision to overturn the 1973 ruling and nearly 50 years of legal precedent in this country was no less shocking for being unsurprising.

The Court’s decision was devastating, and its catastrophic consequences for the health, well-being, and basic human rights of women, girls, and all pregnant people have only become more apparent over the past few months. Beyond what we already knew about the consequences of restricting access to abortion – that women are poorer and sicker and more likely to die, and that the most vulnerable in this country bear the brunt of these impacts – we have seen horrific stories like that of the 10-year-old girl in Ohio; a survivor of rape forced to travel to Indiana because she could not secure an abortion in her home state. And now, Indiana itself has passed legislation to ban abortion.

Here in Pennsylvania, reproductive rights are on the ballot in November. There could not be a starker contrast between the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor, and crucially, the winner will have the power to sign or veto laws determining abortion access across the Commonwealth. Republican Doug Mastriano has sponsored a six-week abortion ban and called the notion of “my body, my choice” “ridiculous nonsense.” Democrat Josh Shapiro has rightly noted that abortion access is health care and has vowed to oppose any attempt to further restrict abortion in Pennsylvania.

The Senate race between John Fetterman and New Jerseyan Mehmet Oz is similarly crucial, with control of the upper chamber hanging in the balance. Oz has repeatedly trumpeted his pro-life stance since entering the race, while Fetterman has argued against restrictions to abortion rights. Fetterman has stated that he would support ending the filibuster in order to codify a national right to abortion.

On November 8, 2022, we will also have the opportunity to re-elect our fantastic, tireless Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (PA’s 6th Congressional District) and Christina Sappey (PA State Rep 158th District that includes West Bradford) and elect Chris Pielli (to the PA State Rep 156th District that includes East Bradford); all will continue to champion reproductive rights and abortion access in both Washington and Harrisburg.

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 17 (but you can vote by mail now)

It’s May – the beginning of Election Season 2022!

Enjoy the warmer weather, but please keep in mind that the future of our freedoms, and Democracy, is at stake.

This will be the first federal and state-wide election since the events of January 6, 2021, when Trump-backed insurgents attempted to end our democracy – and they have not given up.

Further, a draft Supreme Court decision has been released that overturns the landmark ruling that has stood for 50 years guaranteeing the freedom of families and women to make healthcare decisions without government interference. This is an absurd ruling – and Republicans are lining up in Chester County to vote to make this fundamental right illegal in Pennsylvania.

The November 2 mid-term election will decide whether this happens, sending us all backwards to a time before 1973 when women of all ages and means had to seek out dangerous and risky health care or make a decision to upend their lives and carry a baby that could put their own life and/or livelihood and planned future at risk.

Our first step is to rally registered voters to cast their vote in the Primary Election on May 17. Many of the races are not being contested within the Democratic Party, but you will have your vote and voice in placing the following on the November ballot. All will be critical in keeping Pennsylvania from moving backwards:

  • PA Governor
  • PA Lt. Governor
  • US Senator from PA
  • US Congresswoman from PA’s 6th District
  • Representative in the PA General Assembly (156th in East Bradford, 158th in West Bradford)

In addition, you will vote for your Democratic precinct and state committeepersons. These Democrats will be working hard to educate voters and get out the vote this year.

See the sample ballot for your precinct for more information; you can read about the candidates and get important voting information on the chescodems.org website.

Redistricting Status (March 2022)

Here it is, March already, and we still do not have final resolution on the decennial redistricting. These decisions will result in the district maps and boundaries that we will be using until 2032, so it’s critically important that they be drawn fairly. Pennsylvania needs to finally replace the last 10 years of gerrymandered districts drawn by a Republican legislature and signed off by then-Governor Tom Corbett in 2011.

The good news is that we have finalized US Congressional maps, and Chester County will remain wholly in the US 6th District currently represented by Chrissy Houlahan, with parts of Berks County.

We are still waiting for court decisions that will decide district boundaries for the PA General Assembly (House and Senate seats). East and West Bradford currently reside in the 158th House district served by Christina Sappey and the 19th Senate district held by Carolyn Comitta. The ‘latest’ and most likely – but not certain pending PA Supreme Court rulings – indicate that East Bradford moves to the 156th and West Bradford remains in the 158th.  Both townships are likely to remain in the 19th Senate District.

In those races, Democrat Christina Sappey will be running for re-election in the 158th, and two Democratic candidates (Chester County Recorder of Deeds Chris Pielli and West Goshen Supervisor Ashley Gagne) have announced they are running for the 156th open seat since current Rep. Dianne Herrin is retiring.

We will continue to keep you posted on the progress with redistricting as court challenges are resolved.

Redistricting Status (January 2022)

2022 is the year that new district maps for the US Congress and PA Senate and General Assembly are drawn and go into effect for this decade based on the decennial US Census. Since other states gained more population relative to Pennsylvania, we will be losing one Congressional seat (18 to 17). However, the population shifts towards Southeast PA and away from more northern and western rural areas also mean that district changes should be favorable to this area, and level the playing field somewhat.

The redistricting process is ongoing, but with significant partisan pressure by the Republican-majority legislature to put forward  gerrymandered Republican-leaning maps – although the state continues to lean Democratic.

The Legislative Redistricting Commission (LRC) can vote to adopt final state legislative maps any day now, but there’s a 30-day period to file legal challenges after they do that, which overlaps with the current February 15-March 9 petition-signing period for candidates to get on the May 17 Primary Election.

So, of course the Republicans are delaying final approval of fair maps and are insisting that the 2022 election should go forward with the 2010-based gerrymandered maps instead.  A lawsuit (by Democrats) has been filed in Commonwealth Court urging a change in the election calendar (possibly just a delay in petitions) to ensure new state legislative maps can be used for the 2022 election. So the election calendar remains volatile.

We will keep you posted. But it seems likely that the Bradford Dems will be knocking on doors later than the normal timeframe to ask for your signature on nominating petition forms for Dem candidates.