Preliminary map places all of Eagle County in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District
Nonpartisan staffers Wednesday unveiled an early map proposal to the state’s new Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission
Eagle County for the past decade has been part of two congressional districts, the second and third. That may change through the work of the new Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions.
The congressional commission staff Wednesday released a first draft of a new congressional district map for the state. The draft map drops Pueblo out of the third district and adds Summit, Grand, Park Teller and Fremont counties. Summit and Grand counties, along with roughly the eastern third of Eagle County, currently are in the Second Congressional District, which is represented by Joe Neguse, a Boulder County Democrat.
The Third Congressional District is represented by Lauren Boebert, a Garfield County Republican.
During a Wednesday virtual news conference, commission legal counsel Jeremiah Berry said the third district had to become “much bigger” geographically due to population increases elsewhere in the state.
Most of that population growth was along the Interstate 25 corridor between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. Colorado Springs grew enough that the city and its home county of El Paso is now its own district in the new draft map.
To make the population numbers work, Pueblo County was moved into the Fourth Congressional District, which represents most of the state’s Eastern Plains.
Commission staff director Jessika Shipley also added that the group had heard from mountain counties that they’d prefer to be in the same congressional district.
While the map isn’t final, it is one of three possible maps staff will create for the 12-member congressional redistricting commission. The August release of final census data will help finalize both the congressional and legislative maps.
Reacting to the current map, Eagle County Republican Party Chairwoman Kaye Ferry said she’ll be glad to have part of Eagle County out of the sway of Boulder and Larimer counties, which have most of the second district’s population.
But Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr, a Democrat, said he’ll miss Neguse.
“He’s been extraordinary,” Scherr said. But, he added, a lot of what a congressional representative does isn’t specific to his or her district.
“It’ll be interesting to see what we lose,” Scherr said, adding that Neguse’s focus may change as the district’s geographic boundaries become more compact.
Scherr added that while Neguse would be missed, he disagrees with those who had lobbied for inclusion in the second district.
“I’ve heard resort communities saying ‘we want to be in (the more liberal-leaning second district),’” Sherr said, adding that he disagrees with that philosophy.
“I don’t think we want to be split on liberal and conservative lines,” Scherr said. “Those aren’t real values. … Being split by ideology is a recipe for getting more into the problem we have now.”
While Ferry welcomes a possible congressional disconnection from Boulder, she said it’s unclear what the ultimate impact might be.
“You never know how the winds are going to change,” she said.
— The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions were created via a pair of state constitutional amendments.
— The commissions are re-drawing congressional and legislative district maps.
— The 12-member commissions are split equally between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. An eight-member majority is required to approve a new map. Two of those votes must come from unaffiliated members.
— Colorado this year gets a new congressional district, the state’s eighth.
— The first draft legislative map will be released June 29.
— Public hearings will be held to discuss those maps.
For more information, go to redistricting.colorado.gov.
Rest areas and recreation facilities along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, including boat put-ins, trails and the paved bike path, have been routinely closed to nonpermit public use during flash flood watches.
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