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Valley congressman seeking new office, looking to represent District 34

1 month 2 weeks 6 days ago Tuesday, December 07 2021 Dec 7, 2021 December 07, 2021 8:27 AM December 07, 2021 in News - Local

The new redistricting maps are forcing a sitting Valley congressman to seek new office.

There are a handful of candidates on both party lines who are already vying for that now-open seat in District 15 currently occupied by McAllen Representative Vicente Gonzalez. He’s working to represent District 34 instead.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela announced last March that he would be retiring from Congress. 

RELATED: Justice Department sues Texas over new redistricting maps  

Gonzalez said the redrawing of the district lines pushed him to campaign for District 15.

“They took over a quarter of a million people from me,” Gonzalez said. “So really, I didn't switch districts -- the districts switched us.”

Gonzalez said the new maps took out two entire counties out of District 15 and will take over Jim Wells County from District 34. 

With those changes, the congressman says a battle in the courtroom was forthcoming.

On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Texas over its redistricting maps.

“I think it was expected,” Gonzalez said of the lawsuit. “Clearly, there was some abuse at the state legislature when they drew these lines. Over 75% of the growth was minority, over 50% of the growth in the state of Texas were Hispanics and Latinos didn't get a single new seat and minorities didn't a single new seat in the state of Texas."

According to an advisory from the Texas Secretary of State, the new district lines established for the U.S. House of Representatives will be used for the general and primary elections in 2022. 

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