Redistribution maps show that Schenectady remains in the 20th Congressional District; plans yet to be finalized – The Daily Gazette


The New York State Independent Redistribution Commission, the body tasked with redrawing the state’s political boundaries that will remain in place for the next decade, failed to reach consensus on Monday, instead voting across parties. to send two decks of cards to the state legislature for approval.

Despite the differences, the two proposals would keep Schenectady in the 20th Congressional District along with the neighboring cities of Albany and Troy. Previous proposals showed that the electric city was separated from its neighbors in the capital region, raising concerns among the mayors of the three cities, who share, among other things, a public transport service, regional planning services and have a similar demographic makeup.

The city of Amsterdam, home of the district’s longtime Democratic representative Paul Tonko, would also remain in the 20th arrondissement. Previous maps showed the city had moved into the 21st Congressional District, represented by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, and raised questions as to whether Tonko, now in his seventh term, would continue to serve the district.

A final map has yet to be approved by the Democratic-controlled state legislature.

Mayor Gary McCarthy said the proposed maps are a positive development for the city and reflect concerns raised by local leaders and residents of the Capital Region.

“Although I am disappointed, they did not move forward [a] unanimous decision, [the commission] has moved forward on plans that would keep Albany, Schenectady and Troy in the same congressional district, and I believe it is in the best interest of our respective communities and the region as a whole, ”he said. “I am glad this is going to the Legislature and would encourage the leaders of the Legislative Assembly to re-enact the Congressional District which holds the three cities together.”

Commission members failed to reach consensus on a final plan after months of work that included 24 virtual and in-person meetings across the state and thousands of pages of public commentary. The 10-member bipartisan body voted 5-5 depending on the party to send the two sets of cards to the legislature for approval without discussion or before the vote.

Instead, the commissioners accused their political counterparts on Monday of walking away from the table before a compromise could be found.

“Throughout this process, what disappointed me the most about my Republican colleagues is their apparent indifference to public opinion and their reluctance to take up the pen to change their maps,” he said. said David Imamura, Democratic chairman of the commission.

Jack Martins, the Republican deputy commissioner, said Imamura’s statements did not coincide with reality and accused Democrats of walking away from the table without an explanation.

Both parties thanked the audience for their contribution throughout the process.

“We let down the state, we let down all the people who were part of this process by not coming to a consensus,” Martins said.

This is the first time that the Independent Constituency Commission has been tasked with creating new political boundaries after voters in 2014 approved a state constitutional amendment creating the body as a way to remove the task of the legislature.

But the legislature still has final authority over how political boundaries are redrawn and may be tasked with reformulating districts as a whole to move forward.

Legislators in the Assembly and Senate must vote to approve a final map by a two-thirds majority before a final bill is sent to the governor’s office. If the legislature rejects the cards or the bill is vetoed, the committee must resubmit new cards within 15 days or no later than February 28.

If the plans are rejected again, the Legislature is tasked with redrawing the maps.

The final boundaries will shape the political future of the state for the next decade.

Currently, 19 of the state’s 27 seats in Congress are Democrat-controlled. The state, however, is losing a seat following last year’s census, which found other states to have seen more population gains.

In addition to the future of Congress, the future of the state legislature is also at stake. Currently, the Assembly and Senate are controlled by Democrats.

Plans should be finalized in time for the June primary.

In a statement, Tonko said the proposed limits “reflect the will of the people,” but noted that the process is not yet complete.

“The Independent Commission presented maps this morning that reflect what residents of the Capital Region have told our campaign and the commission what they want; to keep our district together as a unified voice in Congress, as has been the case for decades, ”he said. “The process is not over, but it is clear that the commission is on a course that reflects the will of the people.”

McCarthy, meanwhile, said Tonko has represented the district well and believes it is in the region’s best interests to continue to serve the district.

“Paul Tonko has served this region very well for a very long time. We are lucky that he represents us, ”he said. “The reality in Congress is that seniority matters. It has been there for some time and is starting to evolve and is better able to respond to the needs of these communities.

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.

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