State Senator Michael Gianaris on Redistricting: ‘We’re Not Going To Stand for It’


After a lot of back-and-forth and a fair amount of confusion about when the state’s redrawn district maps might actually be released, the new state Senate lines came out today.

This is it! After months of talk and hearings, these are the new political lines that the state task force charged with redistricting is proposing, based on Census data collected every ten years. Throughout this predictably messy process, concerns have risen about who gets to draw these maps (Governor Cuomo has pushed for an independent process) and the ways in which minority groups are represented in the districts.

We haven’t had a chance to look in great detail at the maps or talk to many electeds and civic groups, but we caught up with State Sen. Michael Gianaris this afternoon at a press conference in Queens to hear his thoughts. He’s been a vocal opponent of how Albany is handling the process.

Today, he was not happy.

“They are using every trick in the book. They are drawing new districts where they don’t belong. They are throwing Democrats in districts together. They have brought us back to remembering why Albany’s government was deemed the most dysfunctional under decades of their control,” he told a group of reporters after the mayor’s conference on Gossip Girl.

“Every chance they get, Senate Republicans remind us why New York State’s legislature is held in such low regard…We’re not going to stand for it,” he said.

The New York Public Interest Research Group is calling these lines the most gerrymandered in recent history. The GOP is also proposing adding a 63rd seat, a move which angered some democrats. You can find the maps here, if you’re interested.

“Let’s not forget they announced they wanted a 63rd district after 5 p.m. on a Friday on an obscure website that no one can even find,” Gianaris said, after Runnin’ Scared asked him why the process has dragged on so long. “This is obviously a tactic that they are employing — my guess is to really crunch the courts with the timeframe by which these things needs to be resolved, and inevitably this is going to land in the courts, because they’ve abused the process so badly that there’s no other way to get a solution. It’s why so many of us want a fair process. It’s why Governor Cuomo is insisting on fairness and independence. They have failed that very miserably and they have made the case better than I ever can about why we need that now.”

He said that the lines won’t stand in court if it gets to that (and Governor Cuomo said today that at first glance, it looks like he will be vetoing the maps, calling for a better process and product).

“What they have done is so across the line and so outrageous and so brazen that I have every confidence that’s not gonna stand up,” Gianaris said.