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Penn Hills

Penn Hills residents no longer have local congressman's office

Dillon Carr
| Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, 2:21 p.m.
Conor Lamb greets supporters after winning the race for Pennsylvania’s 17th congressional district during his event at the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Mars, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Conor Lamb greets supporters after winning the race for Pennsylvania’s 17th congressional district during his event at the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Mars, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

When Joe Gluvna recently tried calling his congressman’s office for help with his veterans pension and disability compensation benefits, he quickly found out his representative no longer was there.

Gluvna, 70, lives in Penn Hills, which until recently was part of the 14 th Congressional District represented by Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills. Now, most of the municipality is part of a newly-formed 17 th Congressional District, which has a new representative — Conor Lamb, D-Mt. Lebanon. Doyle ended the lease at the office along Duff Road at the end of December, and Lamb’s office with full-time hours is in Mt. Lebanon.

“We’ll be doing a mailing shortly to let people know they’re in our district, but we can’t contact people and tell them they’re not in our district,” said Matt Dinkel, a spokesman for Doyle.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court drew new lines for the state’s congressional map in February after it deemed the existing map an unconstitutional gerrymander. The new lines mean most of the old District 12 became District 17, keeping all of Beaver County and rural areas to the north and west of Pittsburgh, and the majority of Penn Hills.

District 14 became District 18 in the redrawing, which meant losing most of Penn Hills and McKees Rocks.

Gluvna always appreciated the close proximity of his congressman’s office, which is about a mile from his own.

“Now … I got to run to the South Hills,” Gluvna said.

Gluvna acknowledges he could call, but says he prefers to seek help face-to-face.

“And I don’t fool with email,” he said.

For years, Gluvna relied on his relationship with a military representative in Doyle’s staff to navigate his veterans benefits.

Now, Gluvna feels alone.

“I feel like I’m in no-man’s land,” he said. “And if you’re going to cover this area, at least pick a central point that’s equal for everyone to get to.”

Reenie Kuhlman, a spokeswoman for Lamb, said the congressman plans to open an additional office with full-time hours in Beaver County.

“So we’ll have one full-time office in Allegheny County and one in Beaver County and will be hosting mobile office hours at locations across (the district),” she said in an email.

In the meantime, Kuhlman said, the congressman will hold office hours at the Penn Hills Library from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 16 so residents can meet members of Lamb’s staff.

To view a map of the 17th Congressional district, visit bit.ly/2RFXwtn.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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