County may switch to 21st Congressional District

C ourt’s redistricting decision would move region; incumbent is Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh

By Bill Toscano

Not only is there a good chance residents of northern Washington County will have a new state representative after the November election, and now it appears they could have a new congressman as well.

A federal magistrate’s decision last week would put Washington and Warren counties in a new district that would include Essex and northern Saratoga counties. The incumbent in the 21st District would be Rep. Bill Owens of Plattsburgh, who is a Democrat.

Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican from Kinderhook, currently represents Washington and Warren counties, and has visited Granville and Whitehall several times during his first term.

Kinderhook will now be in the 19th District, which includes Columbia, Greene, Ulster, Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie counties, and has parts of Montgomery and Dutchess counties. That includes much of the district represented by Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat who is not running for re-election.

Mann’s decision would redraw many borders across the state to compensate for the loss of two seats in Congress following the 2010 U.S. Census. New York’s 29 districts would drop to 27.

The decision would combine all the towns and cities in the Capital Region around Albany into a single district, the 20th. Rep. Paul Tonko, an Amsterdam Democrat, represents portions of the area and lives in the new district.

Redistricting was originally being done by a group of New York state legislators, but a three-judge panel ruled that process was at an impasse. Judge Roanne L. Mann, whose ruling would set up the new districts, was scheduled to meet with the panel Monday. The judges want a redistricting plan in place by March 20.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering whether to accept a state redistricting plan that would move northern Washington County from a district now represented by Rep. Tony Jordan, R-Greenwich, to one that runs much farther north into the Adirondacks. That region is now under Rep. Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro, who is retiring after 10 years.

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