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Three choices: Legislators polled on new maps

By Joseph Abraham
Posted 7/5/22

SULLIVAN COUNTY –– As previously reported, the County contracted with Main Street Communications to produce three options for redistricting. The three map-based proposals for redrawing …

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Three choices: Legislators polled on new maps


SULLIVAN COUNTY –– As previously reported, the County contracted with Main Street Communications to produce three options for redistricting. The three map-based proposals for redrawing the nine existing Sullivan County legislative districts are now available on the County’s website.

Legislators are expected to discuss the maps and take comments from the public during upcoming meetings, before voting on which one to move forward with.

Once a majority vote is reached, the chosen map will become official on January 1, 2024. (The existing districts will continue to be represented by the current legislators until December 31, 2023. Only legislators elected in the November 2023 general election will represent the redrawn districts.)

The Sullivan County Democrat recently reached out to all nine legislators to get their thoughts on the three options presented, and to see if they had a preference.

Support for map one

“I'd be happy to vote for any one of the three maps,” said Legislature Chairman and District 1 Legislator Rob Doherty. “I’m more than confident in my record [and] that I could run and win in any district in the County.”

When asked which map he thought was best for everyone, Doherty said Option 1.

“I'm in Swan Lake in every one of the maps. But I also won by 496 votes and had maybe 20 Hasidic votes in the [2019 election],” said Doherty. “So I’m not that worried about where I am. I think that Nadia [Rajsz] specifically asked not to be in Wurtsboro. She’s not in Wurtsboro on that map. Luis [Alvarez] specifically asked not to be in Swan Lake, he’s not in Swan Lake in map one. [And] Joey [Perrello] specifically asked for that part of Fallsburg.”

Doherty said he also liked that the first map’s lines were very clean, used main roads as guidelines and kept the villages whole.

District 2 Legislator Nadia Rajsz, who currently has the largest district geographically, has been vocal about the need for her district to be “contiguous.”

After looking at the maps, Rajsz currently prefers map one because it has her district with more of the Town of Tusten (a town she is familiar with as an Upper Delaware Council board member) than the other two options. That map splits, among other towns, Tusten and Mamakating.

Rajsz said she is grateful for all the support she has received in Mamakating, but feels it makes more sense for her to have the entirety of the Town of Tusten and for [Nicholas] Salomone or [Alan] Sorensen’s districts to include the Southern part of Mamakating currently proposed for District 2 in two-of-the-three maps, as their districts are closer geographically.

She also cited a dissimilarity of issues in Mamakating from the other areas she represents.

“I have more familiarity with the river towns than I do with Mamakating issues, which are totally different - economically, population wise, everything,” said Rajsz, who added that she’d like Dave Heller of Main Street Communications, who created the maps, to explain his rationale to the legislators.

Good with all three

Legislative Vice Chair/District 3 Legislator Michael Brooks said each of the maps just had subtle differences regarding his district, in and around Liberty.

“I'll leave it to others if they don’t agree with one or two [maps],” said Brooks. “But for me, I can live with any of these.”

District 4 Legislator Nicholas Salomone echoed similar sentiments, saying that he didn’t have a preference and was happy with the maps, which all include both villages in the Town of Mamakating [Bloomingburg and Wurtsboro] within his district.

District 5 Legislator George Conklin likes that in all three maps his district stays on the west side of the County and along the river corridor, saying that it was more cohesive than his current district which goes through parts of Swan Lake and Livingston Manor near State Route 17.

“Going into the river corridor, I personally think, from the standpoint of representation and the demographics of what the core of my district is, I think that it [the proposed District 5] kind of jives better,” said Conklin.

When asked which option he felt was best for everyone, Conklin said “maybe the second one,” but that he is still doing his homework on the other districts’ maps.

Additional thoughts

District 6 Legislator Luis Alvarez said after briefly looking at the maps that he liked the second one. However, Alvarez said he wants to see larger versions of the maps in the lobby of the Government Center for people to be able to go and look at. He’d also like to see the maps brought to the different towns before the Legislature makes a decision on them.

“I strongly believe we should be concentrating on the towns where we live and represent,” said Alvarez, “so I’m the Town of Liberty’s legislator, give me as much as you can of Liberty ...”

District 7 Legislator Joe Perrello said he needs to look at overlays of the maps - what’s been done and what districts currently exist - and see if it’s beneficial to the community he represents.

“It’s not about me, it’s about my community,” said Perrello. “I noticed that some of my lines go through Davos, for instance, and that’s all Woodridge. They separated Loch Sheldrake from me. That’s been Fallsburg for years. So we need to go through and analyze it and make the best [choice] for everybody. At this point, I have no opinion on any of the maps until we have discussions with the rest of the legislature and the community.”

Minority Leader and District 8 Legislator Ira Steingart said he hasn’t made a decision yet and that he first wants to evaluate all three maps in public.

Majority Leader and District 9 Legislator Alan Sorensen told the Democrat that he has some reservations about map number two.

“[It] effectively isolates my residence from most of Rock Hill where I live, but brings the entirety of the Village of Monticello into District 9,” said Sorensen. “There are pluses and minuses for each proposal and I look forward to the discussion concerning each when we convene.”

While legislators will take oral comments at upcoming public meetings of the Legislature, written comments on the maps can be sent to Clerk of the Legislature Annmarie Martin at Annmarie.Martin@sullivanny.us or 100 North Street, Monticello, NY 12701.


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