By Daniel Offner
New York State Senator Joesph P. Addabbo, Jr., will no longer be representing the Rockaways and portions of Howard Beach thanks to the redrawn district maps authorized by a neutral court-appointed expert.
Political district lines are traditionally redrawn every 10 years to reflect changes to the U.S. Census. But, this year, thanks to a decision from the New York State Court of Appeals, the proposed district maps were struck down on the grounds that they were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor the state’s Democratic party.
The courts ordered that the district maps be redrawn to adequately address the change in population, and as a result, Sen. Addabbo has lost a large portion of his voting base. Due to the new district maps, he will no longer represent Rockaway or Howard Beach, while gaining a portion of the Richmond Hill community.
“You play the cards you are dealt,” Addabbo said about the change in an exclusive interview with The Queens Ledger. “Richmond Hill has a whole different set of issues than Glendale or Middle Village.”
Because of the reshaping of District 15, Addabbo will need to relocate his Howard Beach offices after more than 12 years of serving the Southern Queens community. He said that even his own home in Howard Beach is no longer considered part of the district, falling under the jurisdiction of Sen. Roxanne Persaud’s new District 19.
Resorts World NYC is another major loss for the district, which, as the chairman of the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee in Albany, was a major motivating factor behind his push for the approval of downstate Casino licenses.
“Resorts World will still be employing my constituents,” Addabbo said. “It doesn’t have to be physically in the district… I am always going to advocate for them getting a full license.”
Despite the fact that his district will now only encompass the Lindenwood Park section of Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Rego Park, Middle Village, Glendale, Forest Hills, and now, Richmond Hill, Addabbo said that he plans to remain accessible to his former constituent base in Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, and The Rockaways.
As for his new district, Addabbo said that each community has its own set of issues. For instance, members of the Woodhaven community are vehemently opposed to legislation legalizing basement apartments, since much of the old homes in that section of the district are wood-framed and at risk of spreading fires.
Meanwhile, he said that brownouts tend to be a major issue in Middle Village, leaving several homes without power for days on end, while homeless shelters continue to be the cause of concern in communities such as Glendale and Ozone Park.
Addabbo will run as the incumbent for District 15 in a contended Democratic primary this August, against candidate Japeet Singh, who previously ran for New York City Council against Speaker Adrienne E. Adams. Should he win the primary, Addabbo will then have to prepare for the general election in November, where he will contend with Republican candidate Daniel Maio in order to keep his seat in Albany.