Florida gains seat in U.S. House, so what's next?

Census data will be used to draw new districts
Posted at 7:42 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 19:43:29-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida is gaining a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Census Bureau released initial data from the 2020 count.

If you filled out the U.S. Census in 2020, you're part of the population count in Florida that will now bring more dollars to the state. But your involvement is not over.

"First of all, we always say, if you're not at the table, you're on the menu, and so we want everybody to participate," Palm Beach County Commissioner Mack Bernard said.

Bernard said now that the state is going from 27 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to 28, new district boundaries will need to be mapped to make sure there’s an equal number of people for each represented district.

"We're going to find out exactly where was the growth, and we believe Palm Beach County's population will be 1.5 million residents in the county, and Hispanics will make up over 25% of the county," Bernard said.

In the next few months, raw data will be released showing where populations grew in each state that will be used for legislators to map out new districts.

"This is going to determine who is going to be representing you in your community," said Jackie Colon, the southeast regional director for the NALEO Educational Fund.

RELATED: Florida gains seat in House of Representatives

The NALEO Educational Fund is an organization that paves a way for Latinos to participate in the political process. Colon said redistricting will change more than who is your representative in Congress.

"It affects you in the school board. It affects you as a county commissioner. It affects you as the state representative, state rep, it affects locally," Colon said.

Colon said usually people can let their voices be heard at redistricting hearings, but as the pandemic challenged the 2020 census count, she expects there will be changes.

"Now with COVID, everything is being done Zoom, so we're having to figure that out now how are these hearings going to happen," Colon said.

To see the latest Census map, click here.