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One redistricting plan could have current incumbents running against each other

By STEVE MCMURRAY

NEW YORK STATE (WKTV) - "Redistricting" will become the buzzword over the next few months as the State of New York will lose two congressional seats based on the 2010 census.

State Senate and Assembly districts will also likely see changes, and one plan could have some incumbents running against each other in future elections.

Common Cause New York, a non-partisan advocacy group, released its proposed maps Monday of what they call "fair, non-politicized" districts.

Under the common cause plan, the current 23rd and 24th Congressional District would be spread among four other potential districts. A "new 23rd district" would encompass parts of Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, and Onondaga counties to include Utica, Rome, Syracuse, and Herkimer. This could set up a potential race between two current incumbents - Republicans Richard Hanna of Barneveld, and Ann Marie Buerkle of Onondaga County.

Otsego County would become part of the "new 19th district," which includes counties to the south and east of Central New York and into the Hudson Valley and could pit incumbent Democrat Maurice Hinchey against incumbent Chris Gibson.

Parts of southern Oneida, southern Madison counties would be moved into a "new 22nd district," which is a southern tier district including the cities of Binghamton and Elmira. Republican Tom Reed, of Corning, is the current office holder living in this district.

The "new 21st district" and incumbent Democrat Bill Owens will include northern Herkimer, northern Oneida, and all counties north and east to the Canadian border, including cities like Watertown and Plattsburgh.

In the state senate, a "new 47th district" would include the southern half of Oneida County, including Utica and Rome, all of Herkimer, and all of Fulton Counties. Current state Senator Joe Griffo lives in the proposed district.

Otsego County would be located in the "new 49th district," which also includes Madison and Chenango Counties and some Syracuse suburbs. Current state Senator James Seward lives in this district, as does current Senator David Valesky. The northern half of Oneida County would go to a "new 48th district," which is predominantly North Country-based and the home of current Senator Patty Ritchie.

In the New York State Assembly, the "new 116th district" would look a lot like the current 116th, featuring the cities of Utica and Rome. The 115th District would have all of Oneida County that is not in the 116th District, but also a large portion of Herkimer County. Incumbent Republicans Marc Butler and Claudia Tenney both live in this new proposed 115th.

The "new 117th District" features the eastern half of Herkimer County, as well as most of Fulton and Montgomery Counties.

How do the some of the incumbents feel about the maps released on Monday?

Congressman Richard Hanna's spokesperson, Renee Gamela, says "there will continue to be various maps and proposals floated on redistricting, all of which remain hypothetical until the state government approves a map. Representative Hanna has the record and the resources to compete anywhere in upstate New York."

For a look at the proposed redistricting maps and a way for you to draw your own map to submit to legislators, you can visit: www.citizenredistrictny.org.

Again, this is a just a proposal, but you can see how much is at stake when redistricting occurs. The redistricting plan must be approved by the state legislature and the governor for congressional and state assembly and senate districts.The plan will be in effect for the 2012 elections.

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