The insiders of the New York State Legislature just released new legislative redistricting maps. They differ in virtually no substantial regard from the widely disparaged maps released in late January. They continue to divide communities, weaken the accountability of lawmakers and ensure that those in power stay in power.
As a proud progressive Democrat, I want to focus on our party’s role in this. While the maps drawn by the State Senate Republicans are clearly worse than those drawn by the Assembly, The Assembly Democrats are equally responsible for the Senate Map. That is because the entire package must be passed by both houses and signed by Governor Cuomo to take effect. If not passed by the legislature AND signed by the Governor, the process will be completed by a Federal Court Panel. That would undoubtedly result in a legislature that is both more democratic (small “d”) and more Democratic (big “D”).
If New York State is saddled with a corrupt Republican-dominated State Senate for the next 10 years, the Assembly Democrats and Governor Andrew Cuomo will be to blame. If over the next decade that State Senate weakens tenant protections, attacks women’s health or continues to underfund mass transit, the Assembly Democrats and Governor Andrew Cuomo will be to blame.
The Senate Republicans are protecting their party. Assembly Democrats and Governor Cuomo have no excuse to go along.
Why do Assembly Democrats not stand up for their fellow Democrats in the Senate (and the millions of New Yorkers they represent)? Because they get the prize of drawing their own safe districts. But 100 of 150 Assemblymembers are Democrats. Their complicity in this subversion of democracy does nothing to advance the Democratic cause – and indeed creates a Republican Senate where otherwise it could not possibly exist.
Much of the lobbying from reformers on this matter has focused on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s explicit promises to veto a gerrymandered map. Governor Cuomo should keep that promise and veto the bill.
Likewise, any Democratic Assemblymember who claims to support progressive change for New Yorkers should vote against this bill.
Please contact your State Assemblymember at http://assembly.state.ny.us/ and tell them to vote “NO” on the gerrymandering plan.
Please also contact Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-8390 or http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php and ask him to keep his promise to veto this Albany insiders’ map.