Fresh from a day spent in Washington, D.C., Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) stood in front of a room full of possible constituents at the Merion Tribute House in Lower Merion.
Under congressional reapportionment and beginning in January 2013, most of Lower Merion will move from the Sixth District to the Second District, which Fattah represents.
Teri Simon, the president of the Wynnewood Civic Association, said she organized the meet-and-greet with Fattah’s daughter Frances, a lawyer, as a transition for Lower Merion community members. Sponsored by the Ard-Wood, Gladwyne, Merion, North Ardmore, Shortridge and Wynnewood civic associations, few seats in the Tribute House’s auditorium went empty.
Currently represented by Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), Simon said his support for Lower Merion remains strong, but if Fattah is re-elected – Fattah is in his ninth term as a representative – it’s best to get to know him as early as possible as he will represent most of Lower Merion.
“There’s no political agenda here,” Simon said. “This is just a bunch of civic activists doing what’s best for their fellow constituents.”
Speaking to an audience that included Lower Merion School District Superintendent Christopher McGinley and Lower Merion Commissioners Liz Rogan, Brian Gordan, Daniel Bernheim, Cheryl Gelber and Scott Zelov, Fattah took questions from the audience for about an hour about transportation, agriculture, education and science and technology.
When an audience member asked how not to become "Schizophrenic" when President Obama says the country should invest in education and Governor Tom Corbett chooses to cut education, Fattah said everyone needs to look at the bigger picture: Without education, the U.S. won't be able to compete with other countries.
Asked if he would consider an office in Lower Merion, Fattah said he would.
"But as you know, there's always a but," Fattah added. "They cut our representational allowance last year because they want to prove to the citizens they are thrifty."
Fattah said he would relocate his offices in accordance to the new geographic make-up of his district.
“We’ll have time to talk,” Fattah said after answering the final question. “We’ll be together for the next ten years.”