About Ethan Wagner:  I am a sophomore in the honors program at Mercyhurst University in Erie. I am majoring in history with minors in political science and psychology, on a five-year accelerated track to earn my masters degree in secondary education. Upon graduation, I plan to teach and eventually return to school to obtain my doctorate and become a high school principal and school superintendent. In my free time I enjoy hunting, fishing, and spending time in the outdoors.

Judges' Statement

One of Ethan Wagner’s main priorities was to create many competitive districts. His map achieved this, having more competitive districts than the current congressional district map.

Personal Statement

I tried to achieve a balance of many of the elements that were discussed as going into a good map. First, I was obviously certain to try and keep the populations for each of my eighteen districts as similar as possible and connected. From there, I wanted to make it my goal to keep certain communities together that tend to share similar lifestyles. In this, I made a point to keep Erie County and the counties immediately south and east of it together in my district one. I approached districts five, nine, and three in a similar way, knowing that those people should not be split up, considering they likely all live similar lifestyles based on their geographic area.

My other major focus was trying to keep a competitive format within my districts. While I was able to do this better than the current Pennsylvania map, according to the website, I found great difficulty in this in certain areas of the state. As a result, while I did my best to maintain as competitive of districts as I could, I resigned that the areas surrounding places like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are almost inevitably going to avoid being competitive due to their large population numbers and their overwhelming Democrat lean.

The same is true for the north and south-central portions of the state that lean overwhelmingly Republican. However, I tried to counteract this by having a comparable number of districts that leaned heavily Republican as well as Democrat. Due to this, I also worked hard to achieve a better rating on compactness than the current map because I think an important way to try and counteract the unavoidable problem strikingly partisan districts is to have districts relatively compact enough where a representative can at least somewhat easily attend to the needs of their supporters and maybe even their non-supporters to together gain some sort of common ground for the good of their collective district.