Maybe Springettsbury Township can wag the dog.
The state's proposed new 48th Senate District, the bulk of which is centered in Lebanon County, has a tail that stretches from Dauphin County into York.
Beyond Newberry, Conewago and East Manchester townships is Springettsbury -- the southernmost portion of the district, the tip of that tail.
Under the new district, still awaiting approval with the rest of the changes in a state redistricting quagmire, residents of Springettsbury would be represented by state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, instead of state Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster County.
In introducing himself to York County, Folmer made sure to note that he refuses the state's pension, sends his cost-of-living raise back to the state treasury each month, and drives his own vehicle for his job. He said last week he's looking forward to serving in York County and thinks it's "a good fit."
But while some residents might consider Folmer's positions noble, they might also consider him, literally, a bit distant.
Hour away: It would be a 39-mile drive and take a solid hour -- Folmer in his car or a resident in his or hers -- to make the drive from the Springettsbury Township building to Folmer's office in Lebanon, according to MapQuest.
Smucker's office is about a half-hour away, 22 miles, from Springettsbury. The downtown York office of state Sen. Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury, is less than 5 miles away, about five minutes.
That's one reason why, if Springettsbury Township supervisor Don Bishop had his druthers, the township would be part of the 28th, Waugh's district.
He said the township has become accustomed to representation from outside the county, and it would be refreshing to have a senator who "is from York County and is aware of what's going on."
"We've always had really good support, especially from the House delegation," he said. "But us being part of Smucker's district from Lancaster, we saw him maybe twice ... in a long time, whatever."
He said the township mostly calls upon state legislators, relying more heavily on members of the House, when there's a state-level issue it can't resolve. For example, legislators helped when a fire department merger resulted in state confusion about registering vehicles.
"Frankly, we don't really need help from the state Senate very often," Bishop said. "In reality, (senators) don't have that much influence over the township business. I don't think it (the district change) will hurt the residents that much."
Smucker said York constitutes about 20 percent of his district, from Lower Chanceford Township to Springettsbury, and he has been in York "all sorts of times."
In Springettsbury, he worked with former Gov. Ed Rendell to keep a Harley factory from relocating a couple years ago, "and we were successful in doing that," he said.
Smucker said he has had a "wonderful experience" representing York, and he regrets it could no longer be part of his territory. If the maps pass, his district will be entirely in Lancaster.
Three counties: Folmer said the proposed new shape of his district is actually an improvement.
The new district would contain only three counties -- Lebanon, Dauphin and York -- instead of the five he covers now -- Chester, Berks, Lebanon, Dauphin and Lancaster.
If approved, the new district would be his first venture into York. He said he plans to host town meetings and other events to introduce himself to residents and familiarize himself with issues.
His portion of York is similar to the rest of his district, he said, with "bits of rural and bits of suburbia," and many of the issues will be similar.
Bishop said it sounds like Folmer is "off to a good start," but Smucker also promised attention when he took over Springetts. Outlying areas eventually fall to the side, Bishop said.
"This is the stupidity of redistricting based on political shenanigans," he said. "It's done to protect sitting legislators and is an abomination and a total subterfuge and really takes a system designed to provide representation to the people and politicizes it and makes it something that doesn't look like democracy at all."
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at email@example.com.