SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A stream of political leaders from western Massachusetts on Saturday told the lawmakers charged with redrawing the state’s political map that their region can’t afford to lose the clout of either of its two congressmen.

The state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Redistricting will redraw the state’s congressional districts to reflect the loss of one seat in the U.S. House due to nationwide population shifts. But local officials argued that seat shouldn’t come from western Massachusetts.

Speaking at the first of 13 hearings planned around the state, local officials told the committee that Reps. John Olver and Richard Neal are among the state’s most influential Congressmen.

Olver, an Amherst Democrat, is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, while Neal, a Springfield Democrat, is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“It’s ironic that we’re talking about two of the most powerful guys in the Massachusetts delegation who are at risk. We can’t afford to lose that clout,” said former Springfield state Rep. Raymond Jordan, during the hearing at Van Sickle Middle School in Springfield.

A common theme was that the needs of western and central Massachusetts often take a back seat to what people in eastern Massachusetts want.