Potential loss of congressional seats could impact credit union voices in Congress

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Declining population in New York state and the potential loss of one or more congressional seats after the 2020 Census could impact not only the state as a whole, but credit unions’ voices in Congress.

“Having less representation in Congress is never a good thing,” said Kendra Rubin, the New York Credit Union Association’s vice president of government affairs. “We lose a voice—New York loses a credit union voice on Capitol Hill.”

The Association, however, plans to closely monitor any developments related to potential congressional redistricting efforts. “We will plan on participating and weighing in at hearings,” Rubin said. “We will be following all developments related to redistricting, and there will be an opportunity for us to share the credit union voice.”

U.S. Census estimates indicate that nearly 1.4 million residents have left New York state since 2010, while the state’s population decreased by more than 180,000 in between July, 2018 and July, 2019 alone.

As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, every 10 years, the census counts people and households, and is “the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy,” according to the U.S. Census website.

New York currently has 27 congressional districts, with each district allowed to elect one member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Where a congressional district might be eliminated and combined with another district is not yet clear. The task would fall to a 10-member advisory commission of legislative appointees. The creation of the commission was approved by voters in 2014, following the failure of the state Assembly and Senate to determine new congressional lines after the 2010 census.

By law, the commission must include two members each from the Senate majority and minority; two members each from the Assembly majority and minority; and an additional two members appointed by the group. The state constitution dictates that the commission must be appointed by Feb. 1, 2020.

The state was last redistricted in 2013 by a panel of federal judges, who reduced New York’s districts from 29 to 27. The change eliminated the mid-Hudson Valley District and Brooklyn and Queens District, splitting the area of the two former districts among surrounding the districts.

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