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Local experts weigh in on what losing a congressional seat could mean for Californians

Posted at 11:00 PM, Apr 26, 2021

California is losing a seat in Congress following the release of new data from the U.S. Census.

It's still unclear which U.S. Representative's seat will be consolidated into a new district, but it's already prompting concern from some political analysts.

"To get less representation in the House is just a slap in the face," Mike Latner, Professor of Political Science at Cal Poly, said.

On Monday, new census data revealed California is among seven states losing one seat in the U.S. House of representatives, while states like Texas and Florida are gaining seats.

"The reason why we move seats around like this every 10 years and California loses representation while another state gains it based on relative population change, is because we refuse to increase the size of the House of Representatives. So I think that's something Californians should be concerned about because we're likely to lose more seats in the future," Latner said.

Latner would like to see the size of the House of Representatives increased to better represent not just Californians, but the U.S. population as a whole.

Laura Capps, however, sees it differently. Capps worked for U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and her mom, Lois Capps, was the congressional representative for the Central Coast for nearly 20 years.

"I think to go from 53 [representatives] down to 52 is intriguing, but not necessarily that impactful because so many states just have one or two [representatives]. So we are at such a huge advantage when you're comparing influence already because of our massive population," Capps said.

So which part of California will be losing their representative? Latner says it's up to an independent commission to draw up new re-districting lines.

Other states that don't have a third party making those decisions are bringing up nationwide concerns of partisan gerrymandering.

"This is especially going to be the case in Texas and Florida where one party controls the process; therefore they draw the lines in such a way that punishes the opposition party and they maximize their partisan advantage," Latner said.

It will likely take months for re-districting in California, which experts say could impact the 2022 midterm elections.

This is the first time California has lost a seat due to census data.