By Will Barclay
The process of redrawing election district maps, which takes place every 10 years, is never a simple endeavor. Logical, thoughtful and geographically reasonable election districts are an important component of our representative democracy. However, playing politics with election districts has been taken to a new level this year.
Republican successes in the 2022 elections helped swing the balance of power in the House of Representatives and embarrassed the Democratic Party on the national stage. Having lost at the ballot box, Democrats turned to the courts, in a desperate attempt to gerrymander their way into congressional seats in 2024. This week, a New York Court of Appeals ruling opened the door for them to do so. By a 4-3 vote, the court ordered new congressional maps to be drawn by February 28, adding even more chaos to a redistricting process that has been thoroughly dysfunctional.
The Assembly Minority Conference, along with our Republican colleagues at the congressional level, have worked hard to put New York back on the right track amid the economic perfect storm created by COVID and the unsustainable liberal spending policies that have defined New York for decades. The results of the 2022 elections came about through a commitment to deliver better government for the people.
Crime has been a persistent problem thanks to the steady erosion of our criminal justice system, and the tax-and-spend mentality that has New York ranked the 49th worst tax climate by the Tax Foundation has, unsurprisingly, contributed to New York’s crisis-level outmigration numbers. Perhaps, to stem this troubling trend, Democrats might consider making better laws rather than wasting time rubber-stamping new district lines to help swing elections in their favor.
I am extremely disappointed New York voters will be forced to endure yet another round of congressional mapmaking. Ignoring the will of the people was bad enough, and this recent decision makes things even worse. The electorate deserves much better than what they got here, and I will continue sounding the alarm when sound policymaking and processes are undermined by political maneuvering.
Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) is the Assembly Minority Leader.