As the state legislature moves forward with congressional redistricting, YNN's Chris Whalen tells us what the move might mean for residents in the Southern Tier.
BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- The writing on the wall has been evident for some time, and as the redistricting process moves forward, what many expected is now happening: Congressman Maurice Hinchey's seat will be eliminated when lines are redrawn. But now the question remains: Who will represent the people of the Southern Tier?
"Our goal here is to do what's best for the people, and certainly, I think whoever the representative is will be able to work with them," said State Senator Tom Libous.
Currently, Broome and Tioga Counties are split between multiple districts, and Libous said he'd like to see the new maps fashioned so that each county is represented by one person.
"Splitting up Broome County is not a good idea, splitting up Tioga County is not a good idea, splitting up Chenango County...those are the three districts that I represent in the Senate, I think they should be wholly contained in a Congressional district," Libous said.
Congressman Tom Reed and Congressman Richard Hanna represent neighboring districts, and Libous said his best guess is that the Southern Tier will be absorbed by one or both of them. In Tompkins County, it is likely that Ann Marie Buerkle will take on the roll of working for the people of the Ithaca area.
"We will look at the district and start meeting and greeting new constituents, which we're excited to do, we look forward to it, we've loved the district we have, but the reality is the district is going to change and we'll just adapt to that district," said Buerkle.
While residents will gain a new representative, they still lose someone whose senior status in Congress enabled him to bring home more funds and projects for the area, but local leaders have faith that the new congress person will fight to do the same.
"They're not as senior members, certainly as Congressman Hinchey was, but I am confident that they would do the best they could to get us as much money as they think we needed," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.
The final maps are expected to be released in the coming weeks.