A looming loss of representation for Panhandle residents in Austin has started.
The state's house redistricting committee has released a proposed map of representation to govern the next decade. There are other maps also being proposed by state representatives and other groups. The Panhandle and South Plains regions are slated to lose at least one representative in the state house. That loss is being blamed on a dwindling population in some rural counties.
In a statement to NewsChannel 10, State Representative John Smithee of Amarillo says, "It's still early in the process. We are pleased with some aspects, but there are some concerns. In particular the Lubbock and Plainview area. We will continue to fight for the people of the panhandle and south plains before the map is finally approved. "
In one proposal submitted by the redistricting house committee, State Representative Warren Chisum of Pampa would represent 30 counties as opposed to the 19 he represents now. Chisum says of the change, it would be very difficult to represent the people of those 30 counties. He also tells NewsChannel 10, "It's a very difficult map to argue against. It dilutes the voting strength of West Texas and the Panhandle."
While there is a loss here in West Texas, parts across the state are gaining population.
The proposed maps are expected to be voted on in the house within the next three weeks.