Shelter Island’s first-term Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Riverhead) on Thursday spoke against a state redistricting proposal that would shift his district to extend from Riverhead to the west and remove both Southold and Shelter Island from his constituency.
Shelter Island, Southold and the South Fork towns of Southampton and East Hampton would become a new First Assembly District, absorbing the current Second District that currently covers the South Fork and is represented by Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor).
Speaking at a hearing on the redistricting plan, which was developed by a bi-partisan legislative panel to redistribute districts statewide to address population growth reported in the 2010 U.S. Census, Mr. Losquadro said Riverhead should not be cut off from the North Fork and the South Fork should not be lumped into the same district.
He said he worried that Southold residents would have to take two ferries or drive more than an hour around the forks to see their assemblyman. The redistricting plan “diminishes the voices of the Town of Southold,” he said.
Common Cause, a non-profit, non-partisan citizen-advocacy group, charged that some of the proposed new Assembly districts on Long Island had been gerrymandered in what its spokesperson called “a game of follow the Democratic voters.”
Common Cause presented an alternative redistricting plan. Among its features is a separate assembly district that would keep Riverhead, Shelter Island and the North Fork together and not include the South Fork.