Colorado’s most recent proposed congressional district map project, known as the Staff Foreground, was presented to the Colorado Congressional Independent Constituency Commission on September 6. The September 28 deadline for eight of the 12 commissioners to accept the current card or one with variations based on testimony is looming. The first proposed staff plan drew criticism from all sides during the week’s public meetings.
The committee includes Carly Hare, U-CD 40, chairperson; Jolie Brawner, U-CD 1, vice president; Martha Coleman, D-CD 2; Moussa Diawara, U-CD 5; Paula Espinoza, D-CD 4; Jason Kelly, R-CD 3); William Leone, R-CD 3; Danny Moore, R-CD 6; Lori Smith Schell, U-CD 3; JulieMarie Shepherd Macklin, R-CD 6; Simon Tafoya, D-CD 1; and Elizabeth Wilkes, D-CD 5.
No witnesses attended the Limon live site to testify on the morning of September 8, although around 30 witnesses testified online.
One of the most controversial talking points was the Great Southern District which usurped the rural districts of the Eastern and Western slopes. The 2nd proposed district includes Alamosa, Archuleta, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, La Plata, Las Animas, Mesa, Mineral, Montezuma, Montrose, Otero, Ouray, Pitkin, counties from Pueblo, Saguache, San Juan and San Miguel. It also includes part of Garfield County.
Several witnesses spoke in favor of keeping the Jefferson County Aerospace District in its entirety, especially in an effort to earn federal funds. Another witness spoke in favor of retaining Weld and Adams counties with parts of North Denver, including Commerce City, to keep the Latin American community in those counties whole in the CD 8 project. who, as drawn, is 38% Hispanic.
Allen Maez, a farmer and rancher from Montezuma County said he had “serious concerns” about the inclusion of Boulder in Northwest Colorado and the Western Colorado Division and what he has. called the shared rural interests. He said the massive urban corridor is a barrier to fair representation of rural voters and the new map is eroding the voice of agriculture.
Commissioner Leone asked Maez which population centers have links with rural communities? Maez said population centers rarely share the same concerns, although they all need agriculture and benefit from rural areas.
Michael Hesse, a former congressman on the Colorado delegation, said communities of interest should be prioritized based on how those communities interact with the federal government.
“Personally, I prefer a more east / west map because of the geography,” he said. “What you will find is the western slope and the rural communities deal mainly with the Ministry of Interior and the eastern plains with the Ministry of Agriculture.”
He later added that the tribes of southwest Colorado interact primarily with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Interior. The tribes, he said, benefit from the representation of former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and former Congressman Scott McInnis during the Ute Tribe’s long struggle to secure the water rights they he promised them.
He said District 2 should remain an educational district with Boulder and Fort Collins within its boundaries, as both are motivated by higher education, although the two universities rarely compete for federal funds based on their missions. very different. He argued that from a rural perspective, the proposed map is not good, although he recognizes that no map is perfect.
Hesse said it’s important to keep the entire Colorado River basin in one district because without this natural resource “everything goes and the state becomes a desert.”
Additional witnesses from Larimer and Boulder Counties and the West Slope, including Dr. Karen Seibold of Mesa County, spoke in favor of retaining the rural counties in the western half of the state with communities of interest. – water, agriculture, oil and gas, second modification rights – together.
“My biggest concern is to regroup Larimer and Boulder with the western and northwestern part of Colorado,” Seibold said. “It seems philosophically that these communities really do not correspond to the important things that the West Slope considers to be paramount.”
Conversely, Brita Ross from Pueblo County testified in favor of the Greater Southern District and said she was one of the eight-person group who submitted and championed the change.
“We really like the staff card,” she said. “We didn’t get everything we wanted, but generally speaking, they kept the regions of southern Colorado together geographically, they retained much of the water, historical, cultural and community interests. . “
She said the inclusion of Pueblo in a district with the San Luis Valley is essential from a cultural perspective.
Commissioner Schell asked Ross what she thought of the effects of the Great Southern District of Colorado on the rest of the state.
“When we drew our map we started from communities of interest, there were eight of us and we didn’t look at the northern part of Colorado, we didn’t look at Denver,” she said. “What we looked at were the communities of interest that were involved here where we live, so I really can’t tell you the impact on the rest of the state.”
If this non-partisan map drawn by staff is not accepted by the commission, a new map drawn by staff will be released on September 15th. If necessary, another will be published on September 25. If no consensus can be reached by eight of the 12 commissioners, including at least two unaffiliated commissioners, the card will go to the state’s highest court. If an agreement can be reached by the commission, the card must be presented to the Colorado Supreme Court by October 1.
CD 1 would include most of Denver, as well as Holly Hills and most of Glendale in Arapahoe County.
CD 2 would include all of Boulder, Broomfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, and Routt counties. It would also include western Larimer County, northern and western Garfield County, and parts of Summit County including Breckenridge.
CD 3 would include all of Alamosa, Archuleta, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, La Plata, Las Animas, Mesa, Mineral, Montezuma, Montrose, Otero, Ouray, Pitkin, Counties from Pueblo, Saguache, San Juan and San Miguel. It also includes part of Garfield County.
CD 4 would include all of Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Elbert, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Prowers, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma counties. It would also include most of the areas of Douglas County, Fort Collins and nearby Larimer County, about 48,000 residents of Weld County, about 10,000 residents of eastern Adams County, and about 8,700 residents. from eastern El Paso County.
CD 5 would include most of El Paso County, including all of Colorado Springs.
CD 6 would include most of Arapahoe County and parts of Douglas, Jefferson and Adams counties. The entire town of Aurora would be in the district as well as Centennial and parts of Highlands Ranch and Littleton.
CD 7 would include all of Chaffee, Clear Creek, Fremont, Gilpin, Lake, Park and Teller counties. But that would also include most of Jefferson County and about 6,000 people in Summit County.
CD 8 would include most of Adams and Weld counties, including all of Thornton, Greeley, Commerce City, Northglenn, Brighton and other towns in the northern suburbs. There would also be a small part of North Denver and part of Larimer County included.