Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, D-58th District, called Senate Republicans’ redistricting proposal a clear example of political gerrymandering during his testimony before the panel tasked with redrawing the state legislative map at their public hearing Thursday. He urged the panel to take their remap proposal back to the drawing boards.
“Rather than making compactness, contiguity and communities of interest the guiding principles of the redistricting process,” Senator Kennedy said, “it appears you have manipulated the map and carefully plotted districts with the goals of maintaining power and safeguarding vulnerable incumbents.”
Senator Kennedy was one of many Western New Yorkers who voiced concerns at the hearing held by LATFOR, the majority-controlled task force for redistricting. Local residents spoke on a wide variety of issues that concerned them about the new map proposal.
Senator Kennedy’s testimony focused on the need to draft a fair, non-partisan plan that will benefit the public, rather than political incumbents. He reiterated his call for the creation of an independent redistricting commission to take reapportionment duties away from incumbent legislators, who have manipulated the current system.
Senator Kennedy cited several flaws with the Senate Republicans’ map proposal, including the population deviations among districts, the “cracking” or splitting up of minority communities into separate districts and separating communities of similar interest.