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What the redrawn congressional map means for the Central Coast

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) -- Congressional Districts have been redrawn and later this year people will vote in the primaries for their congressional representatives.

Keeping Monterey County and it's agriculture together was a big goal for people in Monterey County, but when the congressional district lines were finalized, that was not the end result.

The Central Coast will have two Congressional Representatives after the November election.

"Many people were surprised by what the commission did and I'll include myself in that," says Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California's 19th Congressional District.

Representative Zoe Lofgren has represented San Jose and the Silicon Valley in District 19 since 2013.

"I think it's the first time historically that the agricultural areas south of Santa Clara county have been paired up with Silicon Valley in one district," says Lofgren.

The district has been redrawn to include the Salinas Valley in southern Monterey County and will become California's 18th Congressional District when Lofgren runs for re-election later this year.

"Obviously I'll always represent the agricultural interests of Monterey county our home in the salad bowl," says central coast representative Jimmy Panetta.

For Congressman Jimmy Panetta, who's represented the 20th Congressional District since 2017, he'll be running for re-election for California's 19th Congressional District.

That now consists of the Monterey Bay coastline from Santa Cruz County down to Paso Robles and Atascadero.

"It's very similar now to what I represent in the 20th District, in that it has agriculture, we have to be worried about the environment… and obviously affordable housing is something that we're all concerned with," says Panetta.

The issues are similar for Lofgren.

"There are some common concerns that I'm hearing. The cost of housing is a tremendous concern everywhere in Santa Clara county and all three new counties in the district," says Lofgren.

She's also plans to explore water storage along with the synergies of AG and tech and how they can work together.

Panetta is optimistic about what this could mean for the Central Coast.

"The good thing is now you're going to have two representatives for the salad bowl in that I still may not have the product, but I'm still going to represent the people," says Panetta.

Salinas Mayor Kimbley Craig was a big proponent of keeping Monterey County together with the redistricting committee, but she feels there's an opportunity to have significant representation.

"I'm hoping that whoever becomes the congressperson for our community here in the Salinas valley works collaboratively and ensure the AG community is represented," says Salinas Mayor Kimbley Craig.

The primaries for these congressional seats are in June with the election in November.

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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.

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