ALBANY – Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel is doubling down on his stance regarding where Chautauqua County should sit following the once-a-decade Congressional redistricting process.
Members of the NYS Independent Redistricting Commission held a virtual public hearing Thursday afternoon, allowing members of the public in Western New York to speak for three minutes on their opinion as to how the districts should be redrawn. Wendel explains that Chautauqua County should continue to be aligned with the rural Southern Tier counties rather than with Buffalo.
“One of the things I’m strong about is our relations to rural communities,” Wendel said. “Chautauqua County is the largest of the current district held by Congressman Tom Reed,” Wendel said. “It brings a lot of uniqueness. As I’ve said before, we have long-term industry, we have tourism, we have great lakes and a beautiful area to engage in outdoor activities.”
“Unfortunately, we have seen, even in the COVID virus, we are linked in the regional economic development groups with Erie County,” he continued. “Even in the midst of a health crisis, we really weren’t linked with Buffalo and Erie County. Likewise, in economics and agriculture, we are uniquely linked with the Southern Tier.”
Wendel says a way to improve the districts involves the district in which Chautauqua County lies to expand into counties like Genesee and Wyoming Counties so that a representative of the district would have a better understanding of agriculture and other common issues that the counties face.
Once a decade, New York State undergoes a redistricting process based on population loss or increase. This year, New York State lost a Congressional Seat.