GHENT—Changes in the state legislature’s election district maps will mean changes in local Assembly and Senate districts in 2022. The 106th Assembly District will now cover most of Columbia County and much of the western part of Columbia County will now be in the new 48th state Senate District.
In a statement to The Columbia Paper, Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D) who currently represents the 106th District wrote, “It has been my greatest honor to represent the residents of Columbia and Dutchess counties for nearly a decade. When I was elected in March of 2012, in a special election, the lines of my assembly district reflected redistricting decisions made in 2002. Just a few months later, in November of 2012, the lines were significantly changed as a result of the 2012 reapportionment process to be the district I currently represent. Following the recent 2020 census, where New York lost a congressional seat as the upstate population declined, the assembly district lines have changed again to balance the representation across the state.”
On February 2, the state Senate voted 43-20 and the Assembly voted 103-45 to approve the new congressional map, which will change the 19th District, currently represented by Congressman Antonio Delgado (D). All of Columbia County will remain in the 19th District.
The next day, February 3, the state Senate voted 43-20 and the Assembly voted 120-27 to approve the new assembly maps. That day Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed both maps into law. The changes will take effect with the 2022 elections.
According to the new maps for 2022 on the state Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment website, the towns of Kinderhook, Stuyvsant, Stockport, Greenport, Germantown, Livingston, Taghkanic and Clermont, and the City of Hudson will now be in the new 48th state Senate District. According to the Times Union in a story from February 1, the new 48th district would account for much of what Senator Michelle Hinchey (D), of Saugerties, represents in what is currently the 46th District.
All of the county is currently in the 43rd state Senate district, represented by Senator Daphne Jordan (R). The new district map for the 43rd shows that it will retain Chatham, New Lebanon, Canaan, Ghent, Austerlitz, Claverack, Hillsdale, Copake, Gallatin and Ancram.
A statement from Senator Jordan on February 3 said, “The Democratic Majority’s gerrymandered maps prove the saying that ‘power corrupts—and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Their maps were the result of a corrupt process, failed to respect, and respond to, the will of New Yorkers, demonstrated political partisanship run amok, and utterly failed to fulfill the promise of truly independent redistricting that New Yorkers wanted, and voted for, twice, and rightfully deserved. These maps are a shameful attempt to try rigging the process, politically gerrymander districts, and deliberately disenfranchise voters and Communities of Interest.”
Columbia County is currently divided into parts of three Assembly districts but now it will only be divided two, the 106th and 107th districts. Republican Jake Ashby currently represents the 107th District, while two towns, Stuyvesant and Stockport, were in the 102nd district. Stuyvesant and Stockport, will now become part of the 106th District, according to the map. The 106th District will now include 14 of the 18 towns in Columbia County.
“In the new AD 106, I will very much miss my dear friends and neighbors in the wonderful Town of Ghent and I look forward to getting reacquainted with the five towns in Columbia County that will be part of the new district — Austerlitz, Canaan, Chatham, Hillsdale and New Lebanon,” Assemblymember Barrett said in her statement.
Ms. Barrett went on to say, “I believe we have serious work to do in our rural and upstate communities to attract young families and encourage our neighbors to remain in the region. We know Columbia County has spectacular natural resources and offers a very special lifestyle, but we must also ensure we have the jobs, housing, transportation and healthcare—and of course broadband—to meet 21st century needs. I hope to continue to be a voice for my constituents and communities in the New York State Assembly, and remain committed to delivering for this beautiful and diverse district.”
The 107th will represent four towns in the county, Stuyvesant, Stockport, Ghent, and Kinderhook, and part of the Town of Chatham and the villages of Valatie, Kinderhook and Chatham.
The redistricting is based on the 2020 census results.
After a 2014 proposal to change the way the maps are drawn was approved by New York voters, a state Independent Redistricting Commission was created. The purpose of the commission, made up of 10 members, was “to make the process independent from the legislature in favor of an equally bipartisan body. For the first time, both the majority and minority parties in the legislature will have an equal role in the process of drawing lines.” In September of 2021, the commission released draft maps for congressional and legislative redistricting which were on their website at www.nyirc.gov.
But in early January of this year, a commission vote to decide which maps to submit to the state legislature ended in a 5-5 tie, meaning the commission submitted both sets of map proposals to the legislature and later that month the commission announced it would not be submitting another set of maps.
On January 26, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) released a statement saying, “The statutory deadline for the Independent Redistricting Commission to submit congressional and state legislative maps has passed. As per the New York State Constitution, it becomes the Legislature’s responsibility to consider fair maps that ensure all New Yorkers have equitable representation in their government. That is a duty we take very seriously.”
So the legislature presented a draft congressional map on January 30 and the Senate and Assembly election district maps on January 31.
The district maps can be found at www.latfor.state.ny.us/maps
New interactive maps are also posted on a website created by Center for Urban Research (CUR) at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). The website is at https://newyork.redistrictingandyou.org
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email email@example.com