- Rich Klein
BREAKING: SULLIVAN COUNTY SET TO BE REMOVED FROM CD 19 HELD BY DELGADO AND JOIN CD 17
Updated: Feb 1, 2022
A new redistricting plan drawn up by Democrats in Albany who control the State Legislature made public on Sunday would completely remove Sullivan County from Congressional District 19 - with the Sullivan Catskills instead joining CD 17.
CD 17, as proposed, would also now include about half of Orange County while retaining its existing representation of Rockland County and a section of Westchester.
The new plan will be voted on in Albany this week and is expected to be approved.
(On January 3, the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission voted to send the Legislature two separate maps, one favored by Republicans and the other favored by Democrats, after a contentious meeting).
If approved, CD 19 held by freshman Congressman Antonio Delgado would extend west and north, taking in the cities of Binghamton and Utica, both known to have more Dems than Republicans.
And, the redistricting plan has chopped up the current 22nd District, a seat held by Republican Claudia Tenney.
Delgado is being challenged in November by Republican Mark Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive. But Tenney is also now a potential additional challenger for Delgado, some political observers say.
County Executive Patrick Ryan, who was previously a candidate for CD 19 running against Delgado, sent a letter to the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission, urging the body not to divide the County as it has mostly always been under one Congressional District.
Although Ulster got divided, Sullivan remains intact, something that was urged by Anne Hart, chair of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee. She sent a letter on November 23 to the Redistricting Commission that said:
"If we as a County are kept intact, we will be better able to advocate for our common needs at every level of government. Dividing our county as shown in some of the proposed maps would harm our ability to work for our neighbors and friends across the county. Adding our county to areas unlike ours would dilute our voice in government."
As Hart noted, Sullivan's current district lines keep the County in only one Congressional and State Senate District. She added that only the Town of Neversink, is located in an Assembly District "which is a wildly gerrymandered district. "
On January 24, Republican State Committee Chair Nick Langworthy said of the Redistricting Commission's work:
“This commission has been a sham since day one when Democrats totally co-opted the process. They made clear they had no interest in working in a bipartisan manner to draw lines that were in the best interest of New Yorkers. It’s painfully obvious that their crooked plan was always to sabotage the work of the commission and put the power back in the hands of Democrat leaders in the legislature who are starving for even more power. We’re looking at all our legal options.”
But the chair of the Redistricting Commission, David Imamura, said at a meeting of the Commission on January 3 that Republicans rejected the Commission's offers to work together and that the Commission had held 24 public hearings around the state before finalizing the new plans.
The 17th District seat is currently held by Democrat Congressman Mondaire Jones, who serves on the House Judiciary, Education and Labor, and Ethics Committees and is the first openly gay, Black member of Congress. He also won his freshman term in 2020 on the Working Familes line, defeating Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman, from Yorktown in Westchester. (A few months after Jones announced his candidacy, 16-term incumbent Nita Lowey announced the would not seek re-election).
As of now, Jones does not have a named Republican opponent to challenge his re-election.
In a statement sent to The SullivanTimes on Tuesday, Jone said:
“Now that the legislature has completed its redistricting process, I’m excited to welcome communities in Sullivan and Orange Counties into New York’s 17th Congressional District. I’m looking forward to spending more time in Sullivan and Orange in the weeks and months ahead, introducing myself to the people I hope to represent in the next Congress and hearing more about the issues that matter to them. Residents of Sullivan will soon learn that I’m not a typical politician. I don’t come from money or from a political family. For me, policy is personal. And in my first term in Congress, I’ve hit the ground running. In addition to bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal resources to the Hudson Valley through the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the publication Axios rated me the most active freshman in the entire Congress. While my district lines may be changing slightly, my commitment to delivering for all of my constituents will not. From White Plains to Woodridge, I promise to keep fighting for working families in the newly drawn 17th Congressional District. It will be the honor of my life.”
Jones appeared on MSNBC over the weekend to criticize former President Donald Trump's statement that he would pardon those involved in the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
He is also in favor of expanding the U.S. Supreme Court as a pushback to what he calls the current "hyperpartisan" court.
According to his website, Jones is "a product of East Ramapo public schools and was raised in Section 8 housing and on food stamps in the Village of Spring Valley by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to provide for their family."
He later graduated from Stanford University, worked at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit Rising Leaders, Inc. and has previously served on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors and on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Most recently, Mondaire worked as a litigator in the Westchester County Law Department. Mondaire was unanimously elected by his colleagues to be the Freshman Representative to Leadership for the 117th Congress, making him the youngest member of the Democratic House leadership team. Additionally, Jones serves as a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. Mondaire was born and raised in Rockland, and resides in Westchester.
The Redistricting Commission held 24 public hearings across the state before voting on the new proposed districts on January 3.
New State Senate and Assembly maps are expected to be made public sometime this week.
The 19th Congressional District was created in 2012 and was first represented by Republican Representative Chris Gibson.
Below are the charts provided by the Redistricting Commission showing the proposed CD 17 and the proposed CD 19
(This is a developing story..more updates on Monday, January 31)