East Texas representation in Washington rests on census count

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – A complete census count won't be official until December, but all estimates point to a fast-growing lone star state.

"I certainly don't know many areas of Texas that aren't growing. When you look at a national map there's a definite shift to the South," said Gabriel Sanchez, Regional Census Director.

Census results affect the number of congressional seats in every state. If current predictions are correct - Texas stands to add up to four representatives in Washington.

"Significant increase of political power to the state," said Sanchez.

Angelina County wants a piece of the action.

"The more people we have counted in East Texas - the more apt we are to have representation here and really the stronger our voice will be in Washington," said Trent Ashby, Co-chair Angelina County Census Committee.

Before 2003, East Texas had four representatives from Texarkana to Beaumont in congress.

"Today we have two representatives representing East Texas as we know it," said Ashby.

And if a complete count is unsuccessful, that could happen again.

"East Texans have always been a proud, independent bunch, and its always been very important for folks who live in East Texas to have their own congressional representative," said Ashby.

If we lose a representative in East Texas that could mean less federal funding for things East Texans hold dear like one of our best natural resources - our forests.

Current numbers from the Houston and Dallas areas show considerable growth which threaten East Texas' individual interests.

"On a federal level when you look at what's important to East Texans you know our interests are going to be different than our neighbors: Houston, Dallas and the urban/suburban areas," said Ashby.

As a rural area, our position on everything from education, health care and transportation could be completely different.

"It's important that East Texans stand up and be counted," said Ashby.

It's also important to complete your census form and mail it back soon - the government saves money by not having to go door-to-door checking on your census.

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