With Voter Redistricting Now Final, Roosevelt Island Changes

With Voter Redistricting Now Final, Roosevelt Island Changes

What does redistricting mean for Roosevelt Island? In the wee hours of Saturday morning, a Steuben County judge posted the final New York voting districts for the next ten years. The change for Roosevelt Island is even more dramatic than it appears at first glance.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Redistricting for Roosevelt Island

The now settled redistricting plan for New York State involves Congress as well as New York State Senate and Assembly seats. Today, Roosevelt Island is represented by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Senator José Serrano and Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright.

Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright in Lighthouse Park in December.

When all is said and done, later this year, Seawright may be the only one left standing. Here’s why.

(Click to find your districts here.)

Congress

It’s still District 12, now Maloney’s, but it isn’t because the lines changed dramatically.

The Special Master drawing the new maps made the 12th more Manhattan-centric, releasing areas in Brooklyn and Queens and stretching the district from Roosevelt Island on the East to the Hudson River.

That pits Maloney against Jerry Nadler, another long-term representative and committee chair. The contest may mean retirement for one or both, especially if energized challenger Suraj Patel throws his hat in the ring.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney signing a petition to save Roosevelt Island’s animal sanctuaries on Roosevelt Island Day in 2017

Patel is progressive while Nadler and Maloney are more middle of the road Democrats.

New York State Senate

Despite being Bronx-based, José Serrano served Roosevelt Island well, pushing annually for a better RIOC arrangement. He’s now, along with Seawright, on the verge of accomplishing that mission, but he will not represent Roosevelt Island after 2022.

The new Senate District 28 is virtually all-Manhattan, much more like the 76th Assembly District, which should bring better coordination among electeds.

But the new district is a radical departure, and we don’t know yet who will challenge for the office.

But we do know one thing.

Our New York Assembly Member Will Be Rebecca Seawright

The popular Seawright’s 76th Assembly District is less changed than any of the others. It still includes Roosevelt Island along with a broad swath covering most of Manhattan’s east side neighborhoods from Midtown north to Yorkville.

It’s hard to imagine any path that doesn’t include Seawright’s sailing through both primary and general elections.

That’s good news for Roosevelt Island as Seawright has emerged as an insightful official who listens and will take chances. She’s aware and firmly connected with our small community.

Redistricting Bottom Line

Change is in the air, but one thing becomes clear. Roosevelt Island, as far as politics go, is more firmly embedded in Manhattan than ever. Congressional, Senate and Assembly Districts overlap with greater unity, which translates to greater political power.

And that, with a little luck and good intentions, means the governor’s and RIOC’s stranglehold on Roosevelt Island may be loosened.

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