NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Angelina and Nacogdoches County residents would be under new representation if the current House-proposed map is approved.
Angelina County would join District 57 with the counties of San Augustine, Trinity, Houston, Leon and Madison. Rep. James White of Tyler County would lose Angelina County under the proposed plan. Freshman Rep. Marva Beck of Leon County would be the new incumbent.
Nacogdoches County, currently under Rep. Wayne Christian's representation, would join District 11 with Rusk and Cherokee County. Rep. Chuck Hopson of Jacksonville would be the new incumbent.
In a telephone interview Friday, Hopson expressed excitement over his new district.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity to represent Nacogdoches," he said. "Rusk, Cherokee and Nacogdoches are counties along the same lines with similar interests and the opportunity to represent them is really exciting."
The House map, which was approved Wednesday night, will now go before the state Senate, who can either reject, approve or tweak the map. If there are changes, the House will get another chance to decide whether to accept or reject it. If the House rejects it, a special committee will consider it.
In a message on his website, White voiced optimism about the proposed plan.
"I campaigned on the program that I would fight to maintain, if not increase East Texas' representation in Austin and in Washington, D.C. the HB 150 map provides us this opportunity," White stated. "Of course, the map takes away three counties that I campaigned in 2010, it provides an opportunity for Angelina in the position again to elect another strong conservative East Texan."
Christian voted against the plan, which gives him a long and narrow district along the state line. He picks up Sabine, Panola, Harrison, Marion and Cass counties. He keeps only Shelby County, his home.
"The problem with redistricting is you're following the U.S. Constitution for the number of people, so you just can't pick any route you want," he said.
"Change is hard for all of us, but this will be a good one for East Texas," Hopson said. "And so Wayne and I are going to work good on that transition."
"I intend to work real hard there once the people get to know me," Beck said. "Winning there can certainly be something I can do, I think."
Local leaders now must get to know their potential representatives.
"I think it's a good move for Angelina County," Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter said. "I think the plan is good. We're going to be the biggest county in this district, if it stands."