Queens may lose House seat after Census

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The results, which broke down the nation's population by state, showed that New York had dropped to the third most populous state in the nation behind California and Texas.

While New York recorded a 5 percent growth rate of about 1 million people since the 1990 Census, it has lagged behind the 15 percent to 20 percent growth rate in Southern and Southwestern states such as North Carolina and Texas. The population of Arizona jumped by 40 percent, for example.

With just under 19 million people, New York will soon have just 29 seats instead of the current 31 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"New York will now have a smaller piece of the pie," said U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside.) "We will have to make up for that by fighting better and smarter."

Queens has eight congressional seats, all of which are occupied by Democrats.

"It is always bad when you lose seats," said U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans.) "New York state has not kept up with the growth in other parts of the countries."

The state Legislature must now determine which two seats will be eliminated.

Although the population breakdown for the five boroughs has not been released, officials at the Department of City Planning believe the city's population increased substantially.

Data from a New York City housing survey conducted in 1999 by the Census Bureau showed a 5 percent increase in the borough's population, a result that jibes with the increase in population of the state, which was also 5 percent.

"The share of the state's enumerated population that resides in New York City is likely to have increased," a news release from the Department of City Planning said. "Given the shift in enumerated population, the loss of congressional seats is more likely to be felt upstate than downstate."

Meeks said that while he believes the two seats should be cut from the predominantly Republican region of western New York, he fears a Queens seat may be dropped.

"What brought us down was upstate. Why should we lose a seat?" said Meeks, adding that he thought upstate politicians should suffer for not creating enough jobs to attract more residents to New York.

"This is going to be a year of speculation and concern," said state Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans)

Both Meeks and Scarborough said since the state Senate is overwhelmingly Republican and the Assembly is resoundingly Democratic, political reality would dictate that a seat held by a member of both major parties would be slashed.

Since Queens has several congressmen only in their second term including Meeks, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), it is possible the state will lose one of its Democratic representatives, observers said.

Crowley is the one who has been mentioned most frequently as being in danger of losing his seat. Crowley was the handpicked successor of former U.S. Rep. Tom Manton, the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party who announced his retirement in 1998. The move was highly controversial and outraged some members of the Queens Democratic Party who were not given any notice that Manton's seat was vacant.

Manton was instrumental in the failed coup attempt in May against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan.) Some observers believe Silver may retaliate against Manton by trying to eliminate his prot

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