JAMESTOWN – The New York State Senator for the 57th Senate District is speaking out as officials in Albany are preparing to undergo the process of Congressional redistricting.
Republican Senator George Borrello tells WNY News Now that he is worried about how the 23rd Congressional District, of which Chautauqua County is currently a part of, will be altered. Borrello explains that constituents should also be alarmed.
“Regardless, whether you are a Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, you should be concerned about how this district will be gerrymandered,” Borrello said. “The greater issue is that we have an opportunity, every single person in this state for the very first time, has an opportunity to have a voice in the redistricting process.”
Borrello details how the Independent Redistricting Commission, a bipartisan group established by a state constitutional amendment in 2014, is designed to establish fair redistricting.
“(The Commission is) Not based on getting incumbents re-elected or not satisfying certain political agendas, but how to best serve the most people, and that’s something every New Yorker should be concerned with,” Borrello said.
The Senator furthers that Chautauqua County’s current district was fought for in the previous redistricting process by various influential lawmakers on both sides of the aisle including former Congressman Amo Houghton, who passed away in March 2020, and former Lt. Gov. and U.S. Congressman Stan Lundine from Jamestown.
“There were so many people that have the same concerns, the same challenges, and we need a representative that knows about how the agriculture is our dominant industry, the challenges with population loss, the challenges we face with being on the border of Pennsylvania,” Borrello explained. A native of Irving, he adds that he is concerned about potentially being placed in a district with Buffalo.
“That just does not serve the best interests of the most people here in Chautauqua County, and that to me is my thought,” Borrello said. “But, ultimately, this is about the people deciding.” In addition, Borrello says that Democrat leadership is attempting to “take away the authority” of the Commission to create districts that suit them rather than the people.
Members of the public who wish to submit testimony for the Aug. 12 virtual meeting for the Western New York region can join online.
The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. Anyone who can’t make that meeting will still be able to attend a virtual meeting on Aug. 15 at 3 p.m.