State Rep. Frank Burns was squeezed out of Somerset County to make room for three additional representatives in the latest state redistricting plan.
The new proposal was released late Thursday by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. It replaces the old proposal, which was rejected by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in January.
Timothy Mahoney, Mike Reese and Bryan Barbin will each pick up Somerset County municipalities if the plan is implemented.
"Basically what they've done is eliminate the 72nd District," Burns said.
The proposal gives him much of the territory occupied by retiring Rep. Camille "Bud" George. Burns said it stretches his region from Upper Yoder Township in Cambria County — which is in the middle of his existing district — 88 miles to the north.
"It's unconscionable to create a district like that," he said. "I'm going to make the best argument I can to save the 72nd District."
The redistricting plan will undergo a 30-day public comment period before a public hearing tentatively set for May 2. A final vote on the proposal will come no sooner than May 12. The new districts would not go into effect until 2014.
Burns urged Somerset residents to protest the changes.
"We take a big enough hit as it is," he said. "There's four representatives representing little pieces of Somerset. It dilutes the voice in Harrisburg."
State Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Allegheny Township, makes a big move under the proposal as well. His 69th Legislative District is shifted to the north. If the plan is enacted, he will lose southern boroughs, including Meyersdale and Confluence, to pick up northern Somerset County towns such as Central City and Windber.
"It's significant," he said of the changes. "The (proposal) is really taking away the southwestern portion of my district and moving me north."
Metzgar added that he's happy to continue working in the region regardless of the ruling.
"Somerset County is home," he said. "We'll continue to do everything we can to help everyone.
"I'm not changing my perspective."
A dozen southwestern municipalities orphaned by Metzgar's shift will be adopted by Democratic state Rep. Timothy Mahoney, who represents part of Fayette County.
Republican Mike Reese picks up Conemaugh and Jenner townships, as well as the boroughs of Boswell and Jennerstown. He said he was originally slated to move farther south in Somerset County, but he is happy to be here regardless.
"I'm a pretty conservative guy who believes in the 2nd Amendment and fiscal responsibility," Reese said, noting that his ideals should align closely with those of his new constituents. "And you don't spend money you don't have. That's my general approach to things."
The Westmoreland County man said he looks forward to getting to know the communities and residents in his newly drawn district.
"I've got some work to do to introduce myself," he said.
Barbin gains the smallest sliver of Somerset in the new proposal. The Johnstown Democrat will begin to represent Paint Borough.
The Legislative Reapportionment Commission is composed of Republican and Democratic caucus leaders. A neutral judge is appointed as a potential tie-breaker.
Reapportionment occurs every decade to account for population shifts.