A 30-year relationship between the city of Schenectady and James Tedisco is likely to come to an end this fall, based on proposed Assembly district lines released Wednesday night.
Members of the Assembly were each sent an email with a version of their district drawn up by the state’s Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment; the unit creates new legislative boundaries every 10 years in response to population changes noted in the census. The task force is expected to release a full map of the state’s Assembly districts to the public today at noon.
Compared to the current district, Assemblyman Tedisco, R-Glenville, lost his portion of the city of Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and Niskayuna but now gains Clifton Park, Halfmoon and Providence. The parts unchanged were Greenfield, Milton, Galway, Charlton, Ballston and his current hometown of Glenville.
“I don’t think you’re ever happy when you’re leaving good friends and constituents that you have represented for a long period of time,” Tedisco said about the change, which he learned for the first time from the email. He added that if he had to add any areas, he was happy about his proposed additions.
Clifton Park and Halfmoon already had a chance to vote for Tedisco in 2009, when he lost a bid for Congress in a special election against Scott Murphy in the 20th Congressional District. In a very tight election overall, he won those two towns by about 6 percentage points and 8 percentage points respectively.
“They were terrific for me in that congressional race,” he said.
The additions are likely to strengthen the Republican enrollment advantage in the district, as a strong base of Republican Clifton Park and Halfmoon almost led to an upset defeat of Democratic Assemblyman Bob Reilly in 2010. The parts of Schenectady and Niskayuna that are leaving Tedisco’s district tend to be more Democrat.
Tedisco, who plans to run for re-election this year, said he thinks his proposed district makes sense based on the fact that it is most of Saratoga County and includes a majority of his current constituents. He did lament the fact that the lines weren’t driven by an independent commission, for which he has advocated.
The proposed district includes about 133,630 people, which is about 3.5 percent above the average Assembly district of 129,089. This is a common trend among districts represented by upstate Republicans, who critics of partisan redistricting say are being spread out over the largest area possible. The Assembly is under a Democratic majority, which controls district boundaries.
This manifested itself in the proposed district for Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, whose district is about 2.6 percent bigger than the average district.
Amedore’s 2012 district will continue to include all of Montgomery County, the western part of the city of Schenectady and the towns of Rotterdam, Princetown and Duanesburg. He will shed some of the eastern part of his district in the city and pick up the towns of Berne and Knox in Albany County.
Amedore was initially content with his new Assembly district, although he said he wasn’t that familiar with his new constituents. “Whatever the district is, it is an honor to serve,” he said.
His current district maintains a Democratic enrollment advantage based on statistics released in November by the state Board of Elections and Amedore said he believed that would still be the case in his new district, but possibly to a smaller degree.
Late Wednesday night, Assemblyman Peter Lopez, R-Schoharie, still hadn’t seen his map due to issues with accessing his email account. Based on what had been told him by the Assembly Minority Leader, Lopez said it sounded like he would continue to represent Schoharie County.
The legislative boundaries for the state Senate were supposed to be released on Wednesday, but that was put off without explanation.
A large part of the city of Schenectady and town of Niskayuna will shift from Tedisco's district to that of Democratic Assemblyman Bob Reilly of Colonie.
Reilly said today he has been aware for some time that his district would be shedding the Republican towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon and picking up his two new Democrat-dominated areas. He will continue to represent his hometown of Colonie.
"When I was first elected i didn't know that many people in Clifton park and Halfmoon, but I've established a lot of relationships ... I know many people up there and am familiar with the issues in the two towns," Reilly said. "It is disappointing and .... you hate to go away from those relationships that you have established over time"
As for whether he will run again in 2012, Reilly said he hasn't made up his mind yet. "I am planning to run again, but i am also planning to not run again," he said.
As a sponsor of independent redistricting, Reilly said he wished it had been in place for this year. Regarding a rumored constitutional amendment about independent redistricting for 2020, which might emerge as a compromise between the Senate Republicans and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he said it was "nonsense."
"I call it the big lie," Reilly said about the promises made in 2010 for independent redistricting.