Tom Rentschler, an attorney and former high school teacher, has lived in Berks County for most of his life. He remembers as a young adult going to the grocery store and bumping into his local congressman. But Rentschler, 53, says over time he and other voters in Berks County have lost their voice. “I just don’t think we have anyone speaking for our county,” he says. Berks County once made up a large portion of the 6th U.S. Congressional District. But the last time districts were redrawn in 2011, Berks’ more than 400,000 residents were sliced and diced into four separate congressional districts.
Rentschler says his family’s economic well-being and future depends on the success of the region as a whole. And having separate representatives in congress undermines those prospects.
“To me that just weakens the county and the city’s chances for federal funding. It could be for law enforcement, it could be for poverty programs, it could be for health programs, social programs. It just weakens the Reading and Berks County community, and to me that’s the biggest impact,” he says.