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Cheers erupt in Olympia with news of new Congress seat

Washington picked up a new House seat as a result of the 2010 Census.
US Census
Washington picked up a new House seat as a result of the 2010 Census.

There were celebrations in Olympia when news broke Tuesday that Washington state will get an additional member of Congress as a result of the 2010 Census.

Election managers gathered to watch a live webcast of the U.S. Census news conference. State elections director Nick Handy says the room erupted in cheers when a map showed the state gets a new congressional seat.

“People went immediately to their feet and were screaming. It’s just great news for the state of Washington. It’s more clout in the Electoral College. It’s more federal dollars for us. It’s more clout in Congress,” says Handy.

The retiring elections chief predicts Washington’s new 10th Congressional district will likely be added somewhere in the populous Puget Sound basin. The open seat will be filled in the 2012 election.

The Census Bureau reports the state's population grew by more than 14 percent since the 2000 Census. That edges out Oregon’s 12 percent growth rate over the past decade and earns Washington one of just a handful of Congressional seats relocated from the Rust Belt to the American West.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.