When the state last reapportioned legislative districts 10 years ago, Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said upstate was treated unfairly, and he doesn’t want the same thing to happen again, he told a panel Wednesday.
“In 2001, Upstate New York accounted for 43.4 percent of the state’s population and should have had 64.93, or 65, Assembly seats. Instead, upstate was only allocated 64 seats -- essentially losing one representative in the Assembly,” the North Country assemblyman said Wednesday at the New York State Legislative Taskforce on Redistricting and Reapportionment (LATFOR) hearing in Plattsburgh.
“In contrast, New York City’s population was 42.3 percent of the state’s total and should have been allocated 63.3 seats. Yet New York City’s representation in the Assembly currently stands at 65 seats. In 2002, upstate New York had about 206,000 more people than New York City, yet had one LESS Assembly seat.”
He also said that not much has changed in the last 10 years. Upstate still has 43.2 percent of the state’s population, which should mean that this region should have 65 Assembly members. New York City, on the other hand, still stands at 42.2 percent of the state’s population, and therefore should have 63 representatives in the Assembly. And whether or not prisoners end up being counted in their place of origin, or in the district they are incarcerated, these numbers still stand, he said.
“For the last 10 years, upstate New York has been cheated out of an Assembly member, while New York City has unfairly enjoyed the advantage of having two extra representatives in the Assembly chamber,” the assemblyman said.
“I am hopeful that LATFOR recognizes this discrepancy this time around and returns an Assembly member to upstate New York so that the MAJORITY of New Yorkers are fairly represented in the Assembly.”
Earlier this year, Assemblyman Blankenbush spoke at the LATFOR hearing in Syracuse about the importance of a keeping northjern New York’s 23rd Congressional District intact.
He also successfully lobbied LATFOR to hold a redistricting hearing in the North Country, which resulted in the Plattsburgh hearing.
Blankenbush, a Republican from Black River, represents the state 122nd Assembly District, which includes most of the St. Lawrence County towns that do not border on the St. Lawrence River.