Inside City Hall Wednesday “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called into question the motivations of the special master assigned to draw New York’s new congressional and state legislative districts, as well as the judge who appointed him on.”
“This looks like it’s been gerrymandered to make sure Black people are not represented. It is an outrage,” Gillibrand said. “I would really look to see what is the agenda of this special master. What is the agenda of the judge that appointed this special master?”
“I think these lines are fraudulent,” the senator added, saying she hopes the proposed district lines will be appealed in some form.
Gillibrand echoed the criticisms of House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and other Black lawmakers that the special master’s maps divvy up Black communities. She said she spoke with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, whose Bronx district is 65% Black and would now be represented by three members of Congress.
“It’s as if this was drawn by the Republican Party to do the Republican Party’s goals,” Gillibrand said. “People who have been systemically disadvantaged – Black people, people of color, low-income communities – are being disadvantaged by how these lines have been drawn. And it is going to result in underrepresentation of these groups.”
The special master, Gillibrand says, ignored New York’s requirements to take into consideration communities comprised of historically disadvantaged groups. Supreme Court decisions weakening the federal Voting Rights Act is also playing a role, the senator said.
Gillibrand also spoke of gun control in the wake of the Buffalo mass shooting that left 10 people dead, the majority of whom were Black and targeted in a racially motivated attack, police said.
She remained cautiously optimistic some measures could find success in the Senate, where they would need 60 votes.
“We certainly have to try,” Gillibrand said, rattling off vote counts on previous gun control legislation that did not quite reach the 60-vote threshold. “This 18-year-old man should never had the ability to buy that gun. We have red flag laws in New York and they didn’t work in this instance.”
“We need to talk about how we make sure red flag laws work and a kid who has these suicidal and murderous ideations isn’t allowed to buy a weapon a year later,” Gillibrand added.
The alleged shooter used a rifle he bought at a New York gun shop despite threatening a school shooting while in high school last year, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.
“This weapon is a weapon of war. It’s designed to kill lots of people fast,” Gillibrand said. “It’s the exact kind of weapon that shouldn’t be available to any person. It should be available to the military only.”
Gillibrand called for more tools to be given to law enforcement to combat white nationalism, calling the ideology “a rot and a cancer.” On Tuesday, she told “Capital Tonight” she intended to introduce new legislation to regulate the internet.
Baby formula shortage
Gillibrand said she asked Biden to use the Defense Production Act to compel producers to increase their output, as the nation faces a shortage of baby formula,
The president did that on Wednesday
The United States should turn to European allies to bring in more formula via trade, she said.