Rooney chooses district representing central Florida; West one that hits North Palm Beach, Treasure Coast
January 31, 2012 at 6:22 pm
By Jonathan Mattise
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney won’t run to represent the Treasure Coast in Congress in this election cycle, and U.S. Rep. Allen West has his eye on the newly drawn seat that stands to cover all of St. Lucie and Martin counties.
Rooney, R-Tequesta, announced he’ll run for the proposed congressional District 17 this year, which touches 11 counties and stays largely in agricultural central Florida.
That opens up the newly drawn proposed District 18 for West, R-Plantation, who said he’ll vie for the Treasure Coast-centric seat in the upcoming election. Rooney plans to move his family to Charlotte County to run for the new seat, said spokesman Michael Mahaffey.
The announcements stem from changes brewing in the Legislature’s once-a-decade redistricting process, which has shaken up the congressional district scene in Treasure’s Coast two southern counties.
The district West seeks would include all of Martin, all of St. Lucie, northern Palm Beach County and a slice of Okeechobee.
The seat where Rooney currently serves spans almost coast-to-coast, from Martin, parts of St. Lucie and Palm Beach, to Charlotte County on the west coast.
“Congressman Rooney is a statesman and has been an honorable public servant to the constituents of Florida’s 16th Congressional district,” West said in a release. “It is my goal to continue the success Congressman Rooney has had in Florida’s 16th Congressional district in the newly proposed 18th district.”
State House and Senate leadership still have to work out some kinks in their maps for Congress, but the central Florida seat Rooney is seeking stays basically the same in both proposals. So does the seat West seeks.
The lines can also still change if the Florida Supreme Court finds issues with the maps, or if the maps don’t pass the test for federal minority representation requirements.
Rooney said he his current district gets cut in half in redistricting plans. As member of the House Agriculture Committee, and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, he went with the more agriculturally based seat.
“A vibrant agricultural industry is not only the backbone of this district, but a key driver of both our state and national economies, and I believe that I can best serve the people of Florida as a leader on the Agriculture Committee and a Representative of Florida’s new 17th district,” Rooney said in a release.