Suffolk Approves New, Bipartisan Legislature Map
By Mark Demetropoulos
After a six month series of hearings and negotiations, Suffolk County adopted a new legislative district map by a bipartisan Republican-Democrat consensus. The bipartisan success of the Suffolk redistricting is a stark contrast to the partisan disagreements that marked both the New York State redistricting and neighboring Nassau County’s redistricting processes.
The Suffolk County Legislature appointed a Redistricting Commission last April, consisting of four Republicans and four Democrats. The Republicans were retired Judges Howard Berson and Emily Pines, attorney Grant Lally, and community leader Belinda Alvarez. The Democrats were retired Judges John Bivona and Adam Halpern, attorney Jamir Couch, and community leader Nancy Marr.
The Commission held over 14 hearings – one in each of the 10 towns in Suffolk, plus several to discuss map proposals.
After some contentious meetings – with two very different maps proposed by the Republicans and Democrats – the Commission leaders negotiated a compromise, and produced a consensus map that earned the unanimous approval of the Commission – on September 28th – three days before the legal deadline.
The Suffolk Legislature then took-up that map, passing it – unanimously – on November 9th. It was thereafter signed into law by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
The new election districts take effect in this year, for the elections of November of 2023.
The new 13th District, currently represented by Republican Rob Trotta, includes a portion of Commack and Fort Salonga, San Remo, Kings Park, NIssequogue, Head of Harbor, Smithtown and St. James.
The new 15th District, currently represented by Democrat Jason Richberg, which previously included Wheatley Heights, Wyandanch, North Amityville, Amityville Village, Copiague, will now expand into Melville, parts of North Lindenhurst, West Babylon and North Babylon, and the Suffolk county portion of Farmingdale.
The new 16th District, currently represented by Republican Manny Esteban, will move further into Huntington Station, and will contain portions of South Huntington, Commack, Dix Hills, East Northport, Elwood, and Deer Park.
The new 17th District, currently represented by Democrat Tom Donnelly, will move further into Deer Park., and includes parts of Cold Spring Hills, South Huntington, Melville, North Babylon, West Babylon and West Hills.
The new 18th District, currently represented by Republican Stephanie Bontempi, will now cover Huntington’s northern and central areas, and run from the Nassau County border to Fort Salonga, dipping along the Nassau border into the West Hills area.