2002-02-16 / Editorial/Opinion

Rockaway Needs A New Assembly Member

Rockaway Needs A New Assembly Member

The recent death of Pauline Rhodd-Cummings left a void in Rockaway in more ways than one. That she will be missed is not in question. That she will be replaced is. The Governor has not yet set a date for a special election to fill the void left by Cummings. He does not have to. "The law states that the governor may call a special election," one of the governor's spokespersons says. "The statute does not say that he has to." Therein lies a tale. The state legislature will be redistricting the lines for assembly seats this year. There are some who think that it will be easier to redistrict this area if there is no assembly member to "protect" the seat in the 31st district. There are even some who think that, without an incumbent, the seat is sure to disappear, to be eaten up by a number of assembly districts that surround it. If that is the case, then the peninsula might find itself represented not by two assembly members, but by three or even four. That would be a blow to Rockaway's hope for revitalization. It might be, however, that the governor is simply holding off until the next general election, saving the taxpayers the expense of yet another special election. That too would be a blow to Rockaway. "Who would look out for my interests from now until next year," a local politician asks. The answer to that would be, "nobody." It is important that the governor act soon to hold a special election so that the people on the eastern end of the peninsula can retain a voice in the assembly. Then, it is important that the legislature not split Rockaway any more that it already has. Rockaway's very future might depend on it.

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