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Make your voice heard to save our Congressional district

Chamber Corner

Congressional district lines in New York State are about to be redrawn, and now is the time to make our voices heard in the process.

The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission has scheduled a series of virtual meetings by region and is accepting public testimony. The public meeting for the Western New York region – which includes Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties – is set for 2pm, Thursday, August 12.

Our three-county region has a somewhat contorted history when it comes to Congressional District boundaries.

We are currently part of the 23rd District represented by Tom Reed, that covers the tier of counties all across the New York state border with Pennsylvania from Ripley to Ithaca, and also extends north through the Finger Lakes to cover that region. In years past, similar district lines comprising a sprawling Southern Tier region, were represented by both Amory Houghton, a Republican, and Stan Lundine, a Democrat.

Following the 2000 US Census, New York State lost two Congressional Districts. Despite a widespread bipartisan effort that included both Houghton and Lundine, Chautauqua County was carved out in a redistricting move that ultimately put us in a north-south district along with Buffalo and Brian Higgins represented the county for many years.

The Southern Tier district lines were reinstated following the 2010 census, and Chautauqua County was once again included in an east-west plan along with the counties to which we remain closely linked in terms of demographics and rural interests.

Now we need to wage the battle once more. We know that New York State will lose a Congressional seat due to last year’s census count.

Because our incumbent representative has already made it known that he will not seek re-election, the 23rd District of New York may have a bit less clout in the process. That does not mean we shouldn’t have a voice. In fact, it makes it all the more important that our voices be heard.

We urge all local residents to speak up. It’s easy to submit testimony in this process. You do not even have to show up for a meeting. You can submit testimony online by visiting the Independent Redistricting Commission website at nyirc.gov/meetings and click “submit testimony without attending a meeting.” Please do so before the regional meeting on August 12.

While we are fortunate to have some fine amenities and attractions that put us on par with many larger cities, the fact is that Chautauqua remains a largely rural county.

We still have an active agricultural economy as well as small businesses and numerous manufacturing interests. We have far more in common with our neighboring counties, and communities stretching up to the finger lakes and out to Elmira within the current district than we do with the City of Buffalo. Let’s keep our voices strong and active in an effort to save our Congressional District.

PLAY GOLF WITH THE CHAMBER AT PEEK’N PEAK!

Once again this year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will present its annual Golf Tournament at Peek’n Peak Resort in Clymer.

The event will begin with a shotgun start at 11am on August 19. Space is limited. Golfers can register online now at www.chamberrsvp.org. Lunch on the course is part of the package, along with a delicious dinner you can get either plated at the clubhouse or boxed for takeout.

All golfers who choose to participate are also urged to purchase their Golfers Special Super Pack in advance when they register their team. The Super Pack includes two mulligans, beat the pro, ring of fire, and prize raffle tickets. All prizes will be drawn in advance this year and the Golfers Special Super Pack will not be available to purchase the day of the tournament.

The 2021 Chamber Golf Tournament is sponsored by: A Automotive, AES/Empire Solar, Bush Industries, Chautauqua Lake Dental, Chautauqua Patrons Insurance, Community Bank, Dahlstrom Roll Form, DFT Communications, Express Employment Professionals, Graf Realty, Jamestown Container, Jamestown Kitchen & Bath, Jamestown Mattress Company, Koester Associates, Lake Shore Savings Bank, Lawley Insurance, National Grid, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and Shults Auto Group.

JAMESTOWN CRUISE-IN IS AUGUST 6

The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the return of Jamestown Cruise-In Friday, August 6! Working in partnership with Der Kobblers Automobile Association, the Chamber of Commerce will host this fun annual event from 5-10pm along Third Street between Washington and Spring Streets.

Regional collectors of classic cars, hot rods and special vehicles will display their cars and trucks. The evening will also feature live music and the Babe Ruth World Series Committee will sell hamburgers, hotdogs, and Pepsi products. Downtown businesses are encouraged to offer extended hours and specials for the evening.

Jamestown Cruise-In is proudly sponsored by Ahlstrom Schaeffer Electric, Elegant Edibles Catering, Lake Shore Paving, M&T Bank, and Media One Radio Group. Cars can be pre-registered online through the Chamber’s calendar of events at www.chautauquachamber.org or can register on site. All vehicle registrations are $10.

All are invited to stroll through downtown and enjoy this free, fun, family event!

HEAD TO WESTFIELD FOR FIRST FRIDAY AUGUST 6

First Friday happens on the first Friday of each month during the summer and the next one is August 6 in the Village of Westfield.

These popular events are organized by the Westfield-Barcelona Community Chamber of Commerce and create a street fair each month on Main Street in Westfield, featuring live music, kid’s games, wine, food, vendors, and much more. The event runs from 5-8pm.

All are welcome!

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