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New York State Independent Redistricting Commission holds public hearings

Members of the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission meet in Syracuse in January
NYS Independent Redistricting Commission
Members of the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission meet in Syracuse in January

The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission recently met in Syracuse to ask the public for feedback on how state Assembly district lines could be improved.

The New York Independent Redistricting Commission can continue its process of drawing new Assembly district lines after an appellate court ruled it constitutional. Ken Jenkins is chair of the commission and asked for public feedback to make sure maps represent communities of interest. He said potential maps submitted by the public can be as large or as small as someone wants to draw.

"You don't have to do a whole set of 150 lines," Jenkins said. "You can do as little as your own neighborhood. So, it is really a good opportunity to participate."

One speaker asked the commission to consider maps where counties are not split between assembly districts - pointing to Madison County as an example.

Daniel Henner, the superintendent for the Liverpool Central School District, encouraged the commissioners to think not just of county lines but also of school district lines as the schools build relationships with the legislators of their district.

"Any time one of our school districts is divided, it just adds a layer of complexity," Henner said. "Where the school building is might not be where the representative [is]. They might represent people in our district, but not where the school building is."

Willis H. Stephens Jr, of the commission, agreed.

"One of the precepts that we're guided by constitutionally is that we have to keep communities of interest together to the maximum extent practicable," Stephens said. Certainly school districts would be one of those communities of interest.

Public hearings for the commission continue throughout the state through March 1. To learn more, click here.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.