State Reps. Marcia Hahn (R-138th) and Joe Emrick (R-137th), in conjunction with the and the Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce, hosted a meet and greet Thursday night with a special guest -- U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, the area's new congressman.
Holden, a Democrat from Schuylkill County, was in Belfast at to introduce himself to his new constituents, whom he inherited after a redistricting plan moved much of Northampton County into his 17th district and out of the 15th district of U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent of Allentown.
Holden was congressman for the 6th district for 10 years. From that experience, Holden said, "Throughout my years, I have prided myself to stay out of the petty bipartisan bickering."
Noting that he would be inheriting Nazareth Borough and much of the Slate Belt, Holden promised to be "accessible and visible" and "will work as hard as possible for each and every one of you."
Moving into Holden's district will be:
- The boroughs of , Stockertown, Tatamy, Wind Gap, Pen Argyl, Bangor, East Bangor, Freemansburg, Glendon, Portland, Roseto, West Easton and Wilson.
- Easton and the townships of Bethlehem, Forks, Lower Mount Bethel, Palmer, Upper Mount Bethel and Washington.
- 's Eastern District, 's Delabole District, and the 17th ward of South Side Bethlehem
- As a snapshot, Holden's district will cover portions of Northampton, Monroe, Carbon and Schuylkill counties.
Meanwhile, a state legislative redistricting plan takes 19 Northampton County municipalities from the 18th Senate district -- represented by Democrat Lisa Boscola -- and combines them with Monroe County to form a new Senate seat -- the 45th.
This is where state Rep. Mario Scavello, a Monroe County Republican now representing the 176th House district, comes into the picture. Scavello, who was also on hand at the meet and greet, is considered a front-runner for the new Senate seat that will combine disparate communities ranging from Forks Township to Nazareth (the borough, as well as Upper and townships), the Slate Belt and Monroe County.
Emrick spoke highly of Scavello, calling him "colorful" and "charismatic."
"You will be represented well, and he will be a badger on our behalf," Emrick said.
Also under the plan:
- -- currently part of the 16th Senate district represented by Republican Pat Browne -- would move to the 45th district.
- Plainfield Township -- currently part of the 18th district represented by Boscola -- would move to the 45th district.
- Tatamy -- currently part of the 24th district represented by Pennsburg-based Republican Bob Mensch -- would move to the 45th district
- Stockertown would stay in Boscola’s 18th district.
Moving to the House of Representatives, there would be no changes:
- Nazareth, Upper Nazareth, Stockertown and Tatamy would stay in the 137th district, represented by Emrick.
- Bushkill, Plainfield and Lower Nazareth would stay in the 138th district, represented by Hahn.