Supreme Court ruling good for Pitkin County
Pitkin County was put right where it belongs Monday.
In a 5-2 ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned a Republican plan to redraw the map outlining the state’s congressional districts to their own partisan advantage. The ruling restored the map drawn by a Denver judge in 2001 after the Legislature, which was politically split at the time, couldn’t agree on one itself.
The Republican plan, passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year, moved Pitkin County out of the 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of the Western Slope, and placed it in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes much of the Front Range, including Boulder.
The 3rd District is represented in Congress by Scott McInnis, R-Glenwood Springs, while the 2nd District is represented by Mark Udall, D-Boulder. Even though many Pitkin County residents disagree with the politics of McInnis, they nevertheless belong in his district.
McInnis is a native of the Roaring Fork Valley. Although his environmental legislation and budgetary stinginess drive the more liberal, environmentally conscious types living upstream a little crazy, he has nevertheless been an adept and attentive representative on a number of issues for most of the last decade.
Most recently, McInnis has introduced legislation to provide $100 million in funding aimed at eliminating tamarisk, a shrub-sized, non-native tree that has overrun canyon bottoms and lake shores throughout southeastern Utah. It now threatens the Roaring Fork Valley and other ecologically sensitive areas in his district, and, like a true representative, McInnis has taken action.
Also, McInnis has been a key supporter of the valley’s public transit projects over the years, in spite of skepticism expressed by many of his constituents.
Although Congressman Udall is more representative of many of the views that Pitkin County residents have about the environment, social programs and the role of government, it’s tough to say whether he would have the awareness or the influence to tackle a threat like tamarisk that a native of the Western Slope like McInnis has.
The residents of Pitkin County deserve to be represented by someone who understands the issues facing rural, mountain communities. They belong in the 3rd Congressional District, where they can lobby and influence the opinions of their Western Slope congressman.
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