Lawmakers applauded the announcement that Utah had gained a fourth congressional seat after the release of the 2010 Census report Tuesday.
"We've been fairly certain for some time that we would gain that seat," said Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace.
Dee said state legislators will organize a commission that will work on redistricting the state.
The state Legislature has the authority through the state constitution to draw district lines, Dee said.
That commission will not be formed until close to the end of the 2011 legislative session, Dee said.
The new districts will affect the 2012 election, and for Utah that means "it gives us, obviously, a louder voice in Washington, D.C.," Dee said.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, issued a statement Tuesday morning.
In it he says that "Utahns will have greater representation in Congress," but, "This is something that should have occurred 10 years ago, and I still believe that the process should be improved to include a more accurate count."
Gov. Gary Herbert said the 2010 Census shows Utah is growing.
"The impact of that growth means many things for the state, not the least of which is a fourth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives," Herbert said. "Utah was on the cusp of receiving a new congressional seat 10 years ago, and many of us felt we merited it at that time. This year, the census numbers are clear. Utah will have more representation in the U.S. Congress."
Utah officials argued in 2000 that the federal government should have counted more than 11,000 missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were serving overseas, as federal employees and military personnel are. But that argument was not successful and many believed Utah was cheated out of an additional seat.
The new seat affects the state's influence in presidential elections through the Electoral College and also could have an impact on a number of federal issues, officials said.
Bishop said he worked on redistricting when he was a state legislator and "I know firsthand some challenges that are ahead."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also issued a statement on Tuesday.
He wrote, "This is a terrific day for the people of our great state. Utah is one of the most vibrant and fastest growing states in America and will now have more appropriate representation in Congress."
Hatch said Utah previously missed getting the fourth seat by 857 residents.
He also wrote that he believes "the Utah legislature will draw a fair congressional map."
Utah was one of eight states to gain at least one seat. Texas gained four seats, bringing its total to 36 seats in Congress.
Ten states lost seats, including New York, which lost two, bringing its total to 27 seats.
The 2010 Census also showed there are more than 2.7 million people living in Utah, which is an increase of almost 24 percent. Utah is the nation's third-fastest-growing state, with Nevada and Arizona ahead.
For more information about the census report, go to http://2010.census.gov/2010census.