McEneny: Congressional maps yet to be drawn

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A co-chair of the state Legislature’s redistricting task force said today it’s “premature” to say Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s retirement will factor into New York’s new congressional districts.

Assemblyman John McEneny, D-Albany, said the committee plans to release new district maps for the state Senate and Assembly early next week, but hasn’t penned a rough draft of the state’s new congressional map.

Hinchey, an Ulster County Democrat whose district stretches from Poughkeepsie to Binghamton before jetting into Ithaca, is set to announce his retirement today after 20 years in the House of Representatives. His retirement has led some to speculate that his district may be eliminated in the redistricting process, since the state has to eliminate two House seats based on the 2010 census.

But McEneny said that may not be the case.

“Candidly, the (congressional) lines haven’t been drawn yet, even as a rough draft,” McEneny said. “It’s a little bit more complicated to do the Congress because we have traditionally done the Senate and the Assembly first, and then we work on the Congress.”

McEneny said because of the two eliminated congressional seats, all other districts will grow, which could mean several current districts are unrecognizable.

“There’s going to be an enormous bumping, as one district has to add on tens of thousands from a neighbor,” McEneny said. “The neighbor would then have to make up what they just lost from the Census and keep moving. It may not be as easy to recognize as which district goes and which district stays.”

Hinchey, meanwhile, said at his retirement announcement in Kingston that he is “very aware” of the redistricting process.

“I do not know how redistricting … will shake out,” Hinchey said. “But I do feel that those plans should be made with my future plans as public knowledge.”

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