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Redistricting dust settles

U.S. Reps. Bob Turner (l.) and Gary Ackerman are not seeking re-election in Queens, where the political landscape has changed drastically.
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Northeast Queens will see significant changes in how the area is represented in state and federal government now that the dust has settled on the redistricting process.

Every 10 years, legislative district lines are redrawn to account for shifts in population. This time around, New York state lost two congressional seats after new lines were drawn by a federal judge. On the state level, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed off on state Assembly and the highly controversial state Senate lines earlier this month.

The most significant change will come on the congressional level.

Before the redistricting process, the majority of northeast Queens was represented by U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), whose district also included a large portion of Long Island. Parts of Flushing and Bayside were represented by Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village), while College Point was represented by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights).

But Turner’s district was eliminated — it was one of two lost by the state — and the other districts shifted to fill the vacuum.

After Ackerman unexpectedly announced he will not seek re-election, the 6th Congressional seat where he was expected to run will take up most of Flushing, Auburndale, Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Hollis Hills, Briarwood, Jamaica Hills and Kew Gardens Hills.

Currently, City Council members Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), along with Assembly members Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), have all announced bids to replace Ackerman.

Portions of Whitestone, along with Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Little Neck, Glen Oaks, Floral Park, New Hyde Park and Bellerose, are included in a Long Island-based seat where Rep. Steve Israel (D-Hauppauge) is thought to be running.

College Point will remain in the district where Crowley will seek re-election.

On the state level, the Senate lines were highly contentious, and the subject of two lawsuits — one of which may be resolved in early April. Those lines were drawn by Senate Republicans while Assembly Democrats drew their lines.

The 11th District, represented by Sens. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), and the 16th District, now held by Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), stayed basically the same in their overall bizarre shapes, but their edges became more jagged as lawmakers saw fit to draw in specific blocks but not others. This prompted Avella to call for an investigation.

But in general, the neighborhood of Bay Terrace will switch to Avella’s current seat as will Latimer Gardens, the Bland Houses and the housing complex of Mitchell-Linden.

On the other hand, portions of Flushing just east of downtown will move to the 16th District seat.

That seat in the majority Asian district will be centered around downtown Flushing, with two long arms reaching out to the east and west.

To the west, the arm centers over the Long Island Expressway and encompasses Pomonok, Electchester and portions of Fresh Meadows and Bayside. To the east, the arm encompasses large portions of Forest Hills, Rego Park and Elmhurst.

The Assembly districts saw a major shake-up as well between District 25, currently represented by Lancman, and District 24, currently represented by Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck).

District 25 used to run north to south and encompass Whitestone, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Kew Gardens Hills, Briarwood and portions of Richmond Hill, but now it is a majority Asian seat that will run east to west and include more of southern Flushing and portions of Fresh Meadows and Bayside.

The district currently represented by Weprin includes Jamaica Estates and Auburndale to the west and runs through Fresh Meadows, Douglaston, Little Neck, Glen Oaks and Floral Park in the east.

But the new district starts at Richmond Hill in the east and then follows the Grand Central Parkway west through Jamaica Hills, Jamaica Estates, Holliswood and Fresh Meadows before ending up again in Oakland Gardens.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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