The new draft map of New York state Assembly districts submitted by the bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission on Thursday, Dec. 1, could have a profound impact on District 24, which has been represented by the Weprin family political dynasty since 1971.
District 24 was represented by Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin for 23 years and then by his son Mark for 15 years before David Weprin won the seat in a 2010 special election. The district stretches from Richmond Hill and parts of South Richmond Hill east through Jamaica Hills, his own neighborhood of Holliswood, through Oakland Gardens to Glen Oaks. The newly drawn District 24 would include Richmond Hill, South Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park.
“You know, I would be comfortable with the 24th Assembly district that’s proposed except that I don’t live in it,” Weprin told QNS Monday. “And then there’s the 26th, I certainly would be fine with that because it was an area I represented for many years and it’s probably half of my current Assembly district.”
His Holliswood home under the proposed map would be in District 26 which is currently represented by Assemblyman Ed Braunstein.
“The rules say you can run in any Assembly District and clearly my preference would be to run where I live, which would be on the 26th, but a lot can happen between now and next year,” Weprin said. “I really don’t want to speculate because there’s going to be public hearings, they’re going to have people testify, there’s going to be input on communities of interest, so we’ll have to see.”
One certainty is that the Weprin family will no longer be representing St. John’s University.
“You know, we were represented for years by David Weprin, but this coming year we’ll be represented by Nily Rozic. But under the new map, it looks like we’re going over to Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman,” SJU Political Science Professor Brian Browne said. “What a long, strange trip it’s been, just like the Grateful Dead song.”
Among the surprises was we got a single map and it was delivered a day ahead of schedule by a commission made up of Democrats and Republicans so that might accentuate a positive start to a very long process.”
Browne added there could be a lot of change coming to Queens districts, particularly for Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani who might stay in his current District 36 in Astoria or run in the newly drawn 38th district.
“The new district is intriguing because it includes the Upper East Side of Manhattan and crosses the East River to include the Queensbridge and Ravenswood Houses; that would be a very diverse district if it stands,” Browne said. “Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar’s District 38 is another interesting one because it could include some neighborhoods that would change her base.”
The proposed 38th District would no longer include South Richmond Hill and Woodhaven and instead include Glendale, Ridgewood, Long Island City, and parts of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn.
“There is a long process ahead before any lines are finalized, but I love and work for every community,” Rajkumar said. “I am ready to continue leading and serving the people whatever the district lines look like.”
Like Rajkumar and Weprin, Browne said there is much that can change after the initial proposal.
“There will be hearings in Albany when the legislature reconvenes over the winter so we’ll see how this all plays out,” Browne said. “You could see legislators hiring lobbyists to represent their interests as they’ve done in the past. It’s like a game of musical chairs, when the music stops, we’ll see who has a place to sit and who’s left standing on the sidelines.”