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Redistricting maps elicit mixed reaction

The Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reappointment has suggested adding another district to the Senate, and dramatically redrawing Senate lines in the Capital District.

The Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reappointment has suggested adding another district to the Senate, and dramatically redrawing Senate lines in the Capital District.

— Redistricting maps released by the state Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) on Thursday, Jan. 26, detail proposed changes to New York State Senate and Assembly districts and have some legislators crying foul.

“I find the Senate maps especially egregious, unfair and unacceptable and I won’t vote for them as they are,” said Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Colonie.

Though Reilly said he’s not opposed to changes to his 109th Assembly district, which see him losing Clifton Park and Halfmoon, retaining Colonie and gaining Niskayuna and parts of Schenectady, he takes issue with overhauls to Senate districts like the 46th, which has been essentially cut in half to create a 63rd district. Though this would give the Capital District another member on the Senate, Democrats are crying foul.

“It’s rigging elections,” said Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Albany, who now represents the 46th. “I think the new lines which eliminate my district—the towns of Guilderland, New Scotland, Berne-Knox Westerlo, Rensselaerville, Coeymans—I think the removal is illegal and unconstitutional.”

Breslin previously represented all of Albany County, but the proposed redistricting eliminates the towns of Bethlehem, Colonie and the City of Albany and adds portions of Schenectady, Montgomery, Greene and Ulster counties.

“The constitution tries to protect counties and not have them cut up and Albany County has never been represented by other than one senator, and there’s one government here, and the population in Albany is consistent with one senate district,” said Breslin, adding that based on his hometown he would now be representing half of Albany County and half of Rennsselaer County.

Breslin said the district is “probably more of a democratic district,” so he “should be happy,” but he’s not.

“The process is illegal and we should draw districts for the population, not for the elected officials,” said Breslin.

Bill Mahoney, research coordinator for New York Public Interest Research Group, echoed Breslin’s sentiments.

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