Hudson Valley Implications After Final Redistricting Maps Approved
Amid confusion, controversy, and contested races, New York State has a newly approved redistricting map, and no, it's not the same one we were looking at last week.
Adoption of Maps Approved May 20th
Just last week there was a lot of chatter surrounding the proposed New York State redistricting maps, especially here in the Hudson Valley where one of the drawings not only split up a county, but actually spilt Kington into two separate districts.
As of May 20th, Justice Patrick McAllister officially ordered the adoption of maps that were delegated to a one person, court appointed redistricting special master, Jonathan Cervas, earlier this month, this according to Ballotpedia News. McAllister was the one who initially overturned the proposed congressional and senate maps back in March, and regarding the newly approved drawings, was recently stated, "the court believes the maps remain almost perfectly neutral, meaning the maps do not favor or disfavor any political party.” Not everyone agrees with that sentiment, as some Democratic Representatives question the potential impact this will have on fully representing and meeting the needs of minority communities.
Hudson Valley Implications
Echoed concerns about representation happened locally, splitting up diverse communities within the Hudson Valley, specifically referring to Kingston, with the prior draft of the redistricting map cutting the city into two districts.
As reported in Democrat & Chronicle, referring to a letter to the judge from Assemblyman Kevin Cahill of Kingston, the following sentiments were shared by the Ulster County Assemblyman:
Splitting Kingston up and then separating part of it from other nearby diverse municipalities such as Ellenville, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh will, in effect, dilute the voices of communities of color throughout the Hudson Valley
The final approved maps keeps Kingston fully intact in the 18th district.
Criticism of Governor Hochul's Involvement
Governor Hochul, who earlier this year signed and passed forward the initial drawings that were overturned in March, seems to be facing a bit of backlash about her involvement, or lack of, in the process. The New York Post reported that Hochul seemed to put the blame on state and federal Democratic lawmakers regarding the initial designs, the ones that she signed that were then overturned. The Post citing that 'her remarks also confirmed that federal lawmakers had a role in drawing the lines to benefit themselves despite having no formal role in redistricting.'
I signed the maps that were presented to me, written and created by the legislators in Washington and as well as here.
The story then went on to say that representatives from her office explained that the Governor misspoke, further clarifying that she had no involvement in making the maps, only signing them. Full coverage from the New York Post can be found here. Just this week Governor Hochul also expressed the need for a review of the redistricting process.