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University Faculty Strike & Congressional Redistricting

Written by Richard Copeland, Producer - Smart Talk | Oct 19, 2016 3:00 AM
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Striking faculty members walk the picket line at Millersville University/Photo by Rich Copeland


What to look for on Smart Talk on Wednesday, October 19th:

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties union -- representing more than 5,000 professors and coaches at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities -- went on strike Wednesday morning. 

Negotiations have been ongoing for months and union members have been working without a contract since last year.

Kenn Marshall, the Media Relations Manager for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and Ken Mash, president of APSCUF, appear in Wednesday's Smart Talk.

In 2011, the Republican-controlled State Legislature redrew congressional district lines throughout Pennsylvania.  A spokesman for then - Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai told Newsmax in 2011: "Everything else is off the table, congressional redistricting is the priority." The districts were carved up with the support of then-Governor Tom Corbett and the 2014 election reflected a distinct Republican advantage as a result of the redrawn district lines.  No challengers won seats, the only new candidates elected replaced retired representatives.  Republican lawmakers from the Keystone State outnumber Democrats 13-5.  The state was considered a strategic battleground in the 2016 presidential election, before polls showed Democrat Hillary Clinton holding a distinct advantage.

Franklin Kury served in the state legislature as both a representative and a state senator, and he is critical of this redistricting.  In a September 30th editorial for Philadelphia Inquirer,  Kury uses an analogy that should resonate with most Pennsylvanians: 

"The Eagles defeat the Steelers in their first game and then they - the Eagles, not the National Football League - set new rules for the next game. The Steelers will have to go 150 yards to score a touchdown, but the Eagles will only have to go 50 yards."

He is advocating for a pair of bipartisan bills that would take the Constitutionally mandated redistricting process out of the hands of lawmakers and assign it to an independent third-party.  A commission comprised of Republican, Democratic and Independent voters would be tasked with setting the standards by which the borders of the districts are determined.

Franklin Kury will join Smart Talk to discuss why he feels the current system cheats Pennsylvanians out of adequate representation and why he feels these proposals are the solution.

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Franklin Kury

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