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Members of Congress in an Albany state of mind

ALBANY -– They’re calling on the phone. They’re traveling here. They’re donating money to state legislators. It must be the once-a-decade congressional redistricting process.

Today, U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins made his way to Albany to meet with Assembly Democratic officials who are partly in charge of drawing new congressional district lines to account for population shifts seen in the 2010 Census. New York will lose two congressional seats this time around.

Of course, when it comes to redistricting in Albany, silence is best. "Whatever Mr. Higgins says," responded Assemblyman Jack McEneny, an Albany Democrat, when asked if he had met with Higgins today. McEneny is co-chairman of a joint Assembly and Senate panel drawing up new district lines for state lawmakers -– that plan is due out this week -– and members of Congress. (Republican members of Congress look to the Republican-led Senate to look out for their interests, while Democratic members are reaching out to the Democratic-controlled Assembly to protect their political futures.)

"We talked to a lot of people today," McEneny responded coyly, and then added, "Mr. Higgins was in town today."

Proposed congressional lines might not be out for a few weeks. "We’re focusing on getting the Assembly seats out," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. (That might come Tuesday or Wednesday.)

Silver was asked if the announced retirement last week of Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a Hudson Valley-area Democrat, would result in the disappearance of that seat and a corresponding Republican seat elsewhere in the state. "I really don’t know at this point," Silver said.

--Tom Precious

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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