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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Where does Welch live?

Republican Steve Welch, who would probably like me to describe him as a "Phoenixville businessman" (or better, a "Phoenixville entrepreneur" ... but this is a blog, and I don't like such easy descriptors) did something unusual on Saturday. He was going to run for congress in the 7th District, where he lives. But, probably because of pressure from Pat Meehan's people, he decided that he would instead run in the 6th District. (Meehan, a GOP favorite, announced his candidacy for the 7th District today)

Now, Welch does not live in the 6th District, but he believes he lives close enough to it to successfully represent it. (You do not have to live in a congressional district to run in it - you merely have to live in the state.) He told me during an interview on Saturday that he lives in Phoenixville, and that his property borders the 6th District. It's true that his property is really, really close to the 6th District line. But he lives in Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County, across the river from Phoenixville Borough, Chester County. Welch has a Phoenixville mailing address but does not, by the Daily Local's standards, live in Phonenixville.

Allow me to briefly explain the Daily Local's obsession with municipal boundaries. Local reporters spend half their working lives at municipal meetings. West Chester, to most people around here, includes any place that has a West Chester zip code. To a local reporter such as myself, "West Chester" is West Chester Borough. Period. People who live in West Goshen claim that they, too, live in West Chester, and 95 percent of the population will be satisfied with this claim. I'm not. I've been to West Chester Borough meetings, and I've been to West Goshen meetings. They are two different municipalities, with two different land use patterns and two vastly different governing styles. If your house is in West Goshen Township, the Daily Local believes you live in West Goshen.

Anyway, we should be talking about congressional district boundaries, not municipal boundaries. (The two are quite different - for example, Ridley Township, where I currently reside, is in two congressional districts, and, like, half a dozen state house districts). Steve Welch lives in the 7th District but is running in the 6th District - this matters a little bit, but it probably doesn't matter as much as, say, Curt Schroder's people would like it to. The 6th District is badly gerrymandered. Welch lives in an odd appendage to the 7th District that seems as if it should have been included in the 6th District. If Welch lived farther inside the 7th District (in Media, for example), I suppose there'd be more call for suspicion.

Anyway, I found a fun tool. At, you can get Google maps of any congressional district you like.

Check out the 6th District here.

And, while you're at it, take a look at the 7th District.

And the 16th District, where West Chester Borough is located. Notice how the district reaches it's bloblike arm up to capture the borough. I hear there's county daily in that borough. (Ha - technically, our office is in East Bradford (southwest corner of Bradford Ave. and Strasburg Rd.), just inside the 6th District. If I lived at the office and ran in the 16th District, I'd be in Welch's shoes.)