The following was issued by the Office of Assemblyman Steve Katz:
Assemblyman Steve Katz, R-Yorktown, presented testimony today calling for fair and independent legislative redistricting at the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment public hearing, held at the Westchester County Board of Legislator’s Committee Room in White Plains, New York.
“Ensuring truly fair and democratically-elected representation is the cornerstone of our government – and, unfortunately, this process is in dire need of reform; however, Albany’s notorious inability to reform themselves has proven a giant obstacle in bringing about true change, particularly when it comes to redistricting,” said the assemblyman, who sponsors legislation to reform the redistricting process in New York State, including the highly-publicized legislation supported by Ed Koch’s New York Uprising group.
Assemblyman Katz continued, “Simply put, we cannot trust career politicians to make the right decisions about redistricting when it innately comes to prolonging their existence in office. In my opinion – and the opinion of the New Yorkers I represent – the process itself is a conflict of interest.”
At today’s hearing, Assemblyman Katz reiterated his support of any initiative to open the dialogue on redistricting and to create an independent commission tasked with redrawing the lines of legislative districts. Earlier this year, he held a bipartisan press conference with the former New York City mayor and state legislators to highlight the collective call from across the state to create an independent redistricting commission and other proposals that seek to make the process more fair and open. However, despite this growing bipartisan caucus, and strong public support, redistricting reform was one of the larger issues left unaddressed during this year’s legislative session.
Assemblyman Katz said, “We only have this opportunity once every 10 years – and the choices made now will affect every New Yorker for the next decade, and even decades to come. It is imperative that redistricting be done in a nonpartisan, independent manner that ensures the voices of New Yorkers are justly represented.”