SAN LUIS VALLEY -- The Colorado Redistricting Commission released the latest round of maps on Monday based on the 2020 census figures that were recently released. In this round, non-partisan staffers presented maps for the state Senate, which contains 35 districts, and the state House, which contains 62 districts.
Numerous complaints and concerns were voiced almost as soon as the maps were released
According to party chiefs on both sides of the aisle, the maps do not provide for adequate political competitiveness. With the party registration in Colorado trending blue and unaffiliated, Republicans were hoping for redistricting to provide them with a shot at gaining ground and regaining control. Analysts say that that is unlikely to happen with the map as they are currently drawn.
“This process has a long way to go,” states executive director of the Republican Party, Joe Jackson. “We hope the commission will work to generate more competitive district.
Also, as a number of incumbents now share districts, the state Democratic Party voiced concerns over Democratic candidates up for election in 2022 facing Republicans who are not up for re-election until 2024. In a statement to the Colorado Sun, Democratic spokesman David Pourshoushtari stated that non-partisan staffers need to pay closer attention to incumbents with overlapping fouryear terms when drawing district boundaries. Purshourshtari went on to clarify, stating it was not about the specific incumbents themselves, which is disallowed under redistricting guidelines, but instead about how those overlapping seats are staggered.
As far as the San Luis Valley, the borders of District 62, currently held by Representative Donald Valdez, do not change with the district encompassing the entirety of the San Luis Valley plus Huerfano County.
However, the district currently represented by Senator Cleave Simpson, which extends from the San Luis Valley east to the Kansas state line, has been redrawn to include the San Luis Valley and extends to the western border of the state including the counties of Custer, Hinsdale, Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan, Ouray, Montezuma, Dolores and San Miguel.
The numbers of the district have also changed. District 35, currently encompassing the valley, is now assigned to the entirety of Pueblo County while the valley is part of District 7.
It should also be noted that, unlike Congressional representatives, state representatives need to live in the districts they are representing.
Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission announced the details for upcoming virtual hearings on the first staff state house and state senate plans. In order to maximize the opportunity to hear public testimony despite the condensed schedule, and due to growing concerns about COVID-19, the commissioners will not travel but will instead hold hearings virtually.
Coloradans will have three opportunities to testify about the staff legislative plans and can testify at the hearing of their choice.
Individuals must sign up in advance to testify and can do so at https://redistricting. colorado.gov/signup. The schedule for the legislative hearings is as follows: Friday, Sept. 17 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Zoom link: https:// coleg-gov.zoom.us/ webinar/register/