Assemblyman Christopher Friend (R- Big Flats) supports the Governor in the quest for independent redistricting. Governor Cuomo’s introduction of redistricting legislation (S03419 / A05388) has brought the issue of redistricting to the forefront of the public. With this legislation one question must be asked: Where is Chemung County? The county was omitted from a regional grouping that would attempt to ensure geographic representation on the independent redistricting commission.
“I am glad the Governor has submitted this bill, although I would like to remind him that New York has 62 counties, not 61 counties. I hope the governor was not attempting to redistrict Chemung County all the way out of New York and that he will submit an amendment to correct this oversight and include Chemung County in one of the regions from which he draws participants for his redistricting commission. Chemung County may not be on the Governor’s speed dial list, but we deserve a chance to participate in the redistricting process.”
The Governor’s bill has been met with mixed feelings in Albany. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb has expressed support for the Governor’s efforts and further offered recommendations to improve the bill. Kolb has suggested balancing the nominees more fairly between the various branches and parties. Currently, the governor has the power to nominate four members to the redistricting nominations, shifting the partisan balance. Kolb’s plan would level the playing field by giving the Speaker of the Assembly, Minority Leader of the Assembly, Temporary President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the Senate, and the Governor each two nominations. He also has recommended holding public redistricting meetings in more areas of the state including the Southern Tier.
“All joking aside, I believe the governor’s proposal is a good start; however, Minority Leader Kolb’s recommendations are necessary and important to the overall goal of impartial redistricting,” said Friend. “I am particularly supportive of meetings being held in the Southern Tier and all around New York because, in this process, everyone should have a voice. I believe that by working together we can make real progress on the urgent matter of independent redistricting.”