State Rep. Aaron Peņa, D-Edinburg, has been appointed to chair a special subcommittee, which will seek public input for Texas redistricting process in 2011.

Peņa, who already chairs the Select Committee on Emergency Preparedness and is vice-chair of Elections, was selected by the House Committee on Redistricting this week. The subcommittee is comprised of several members of the HCR as well as others from the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence.

Redistricting in 2011 will determine how many South Texas lawmakers, including state reps and senators, head to Austin on behalf of the Rio Grande Valley, according to Peņa.

"It's important that South Texans be given a voice as Texas enters what may be a difficult redistricting process," Peņa said. "While the Valley's political clout is on the rise, other parts of Texas will see their influence wane in proportion to their demographic weight. It is important that we put ideology aside and do what is best for a changing Texas."

The news of Peņa's appointment follows Wednesday's meeting of the House Committee on Redistricting, which heard testimony regarding Texas' exploding population. According to testimony, Texas has grown by four million people - ninety percent of which has been in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston/Galveston, Austin/San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley.

The subcommittee is comprised of Peņa, Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Corpus Christi and Rep. Harvey Hilderban, R-Kerrville. A hearing in theValley is slated to take place at the McAllen Convention Center at 10 a.m.. on July 19. The event will be open to the public.

A hearing in Corpus Christi will take place on Wednesday July 19 at 10 a.m. at Corpus Christi City Hall.

The following dates have been tentatively set for a hearing:

June 21, 2010 - San Antonio

July 19-21, 2010 - McAllen, Laredo, Corpus Christi

August 16-18, 2010 - El Paso, Lubbock

September 20-22, 2010 - Dallas, Richardson, Fort Worth

October 18-20, 2010 - Beaumont, Marshall

November 15-17,2010 - Houston, Austin