Senator Appointment Easing Some Concerns - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Senator Appointment Easing Some Concerns

State Senator Kel Seliger State Senator Kel Seliger
District 86 Representative John Smithee District 86 Representative John Smithee

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TEXAS - Concerns over the Panhandle's impact in the Texas legislature are a little calmer this evening.

Amarillo State Senator Kel Seliger's appointment as chairman of the state Senate Committee on Redistricting gives us the Panhandle more of a presence in Austin at an important crossroad.

Every ten years, once official population numbers are out, state lawmakers re-draw districts.

In those districts is where texans will elect representatives to the legislature, board of education, and judicial districts.

District 86 Representative John Smithee says, "redistricting is always a fight. Particularly when you live in an area like the Panhandle. We've gained population but not as quickly as other parts of the state have increased."

Which had some worried the area would lose a representative....and a voice that could have served local interests on bills or funding impacting the region.

Senator Seliger says he does not believe we will lose a representative this go round, but it also is not up to him.

He says, "we're gonna have our say. We're gonna have to deal with the numbers we're given. Nobody in any part of texas wants to take representation away from another part of the state."

Representative Smithee says, "just to be able to protect our interests, to make sure we are treated fairly is going to be very important to the Panhandle."

Public hearings on redistricting are already in the works.

Lawmakers start drawing new district lines in January.

Based on early census numbers, Texas could get more representative seats in the U.S. Congress.

But those lawmakers would probably represent bigger cities.

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