Politics

Here are Colorado legislatures that are likely to change a lot during redistricting

State Senator The Southern Colorado region of Cliff Simpson covers approximately 27,000 square miles, including all or part of 16 counties and 80 cities and towns. It stretches from Trinidad in the south to Pueblo in the north and from Creed in the west to Lamar in the east.

Next year, Senate District 35 and other large legislative districts like it will be even bigger.

That’s because rural Colorado has lost residents over the past 10 years, and an independent legislative redistricting committee will take these shifts into account as it draws new maps of the state’s 65 districts in the House of Representatives and 35 Senate before the 2022 elections.

The 12-member committee, created when voters passed Amendments Y and Z in 2018, began meeting last week with a mission to set new boundaries that will be in effect for the next 10 years. Their work could decide whether the Democrats maintain control of the state Capitol and also pit state MPs against each other in controversial races.

Although the new districts will be based on the 2020 census data that has not yet been released, there are 2019 census estimates available for the legislative districts. The Colorado Sun used the 2019 data to look at how the population in those 100 counties changed between 2010 and 2019 and to determine which counties were most vulnerable to change.

Colorado’s total population increased 14.5% during that period, but some areas, including Wild and Larimer Counties, grew faster than areas in the northwest and southeast parts of the state.

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So, while the Simpson rural area will become larger, so is the Republican Senator’s area. Barbara Kermeier’s 23rd Senate district will likely shrink as the population of the 383-square-mile trail that runs along Interstate 25 from Broomfield to Windsor increased by approximately 33%.

Conclusion for both the House and Senate counties: Power will continue to be consolidated in the state’s 11 most populous counties. All except one, Mesa County, is on the front run. Colorado’s 53 rural counties can be represented by only five Senators and 10 representatives, unless they are combined with more metropolitan areas.

Senate districts will continue to expand into rural areas, and to contract on metros

Based on the 2019 population estimates, the 35 Senate districts in Colorado will end up with 160,296 people each. Seventeen of the existing districts exceeded this limit, while 18 fewer regions exceeded it.

If the 2019 county population estimates are used, then 11 provinces can be divided into 30 seats.

The counties of Denver, El Paso, and Arapahoe may be represented by four senators. Jefferson and Adams counties will have at least three. Larimer, Douglas, Boulder, and Wilde Counties each will have two senators. Pueblo and Mesa counties will each have one senator. This is roughly the same number of provinces as provinces now, with some adjustments to individual districts gaining or losing people.

The remaining 53 provinces would have to unite to create the remaining five seats.

Simpson County in the Senate is the only one of the 35 current Senate districts to lose significant population between 2010 and 2019. He is a Republican who lives in Alamosa, more than an hour away from Creed and about 3.5 hours from Lamar.

“Carrying the responsibility of the state’s largest state legislature is problematic,” Simpson said. “How do you stay in touch with the voters?”

He said he knew the region would only get wider in 2022 when he ran for the open seat last year. “The population in the rural counties that I represent is either static or decreasing overall, potentially. So it’s going to be more space going forward. I can’t imagine what that looks like yet.”

State Representative Cliff Simpson, Alamosa R. (note)

The population of all Senate districts of the state will increase.

Mario Nicholas, an unaffiliated attorney and columnist for the Colorado Sun who served as a Republican nominee on the 2011 committee that guided the current county legislation.

Senate District 3 in Pueblo, for example, now represented by Senate President Leroy Garcia, Democrat, will also need to expand. Although the district gained approximately 5% of the population over nine years, it still fell short of the target set for Senate counties of more than 8%.

The population of all Senate districts of the state will increase.

Mario Nicholas, an unaffiliated attorney and columnist for the Colorado Sun who served as a Republican nominee on the 2011 committee that guided the current county legislation.

Senate District 3 in Pueblo, for example, now represented by Senate President Leroy Garcia, Democrat, will also need to expand. Although the district gained approximately 5% of the population over nine years, it still fell short of the target set for Senate counties of more than 8%.

Even Senate District 19, centered in Arvada and Westminster in Jefferson County, will need to expand, and will likely draw residents from other Senate districts in Jefferson County that have grown larger.

Colorado Capitol on Friday, March 20, 2020 in Denver. (Joe Mahoney, private for the Colorado Trust)

At the other end of the spectrum is the Kirkmeyer region. Wilde and Larimer Counties have had some of the highest growth rates in Colorado over the past decade, and much of that has been along I-25 corridor in Senate District 23.

Then there’s Senate District 33 in northeast Denver, which has seen roughly 27% growth over nine years and 15% over the area’s 2019 average population. Democratic Senator James Coleman represents the district with new neighborhoods near Denver Airport. International.

Meanwhile, two Democratic senators from adjacent state Senate districts in Jefferson County are at risk of being drawn into the same area next year.

Senator. Brittany Petersen from Lakewood and the Senator. Jesse Danielson of Wheat Ridge lives very close to each other, and their neighborhoods are set to change. The two are good friends.

“It will be, as one of them said, the biggest show of the year,” Petersen said of lawmakers seated suddenly vying for the same seat.

The most important thing, Petersen said, is that the maps are fair. “The rest can be done by itself.”

Residential areas will be significantly less affected

The effect of redistricting may be less dramatic in the state assembly.

The counties will have an average of 86,313 people based on the 2019 population estimate. Twenty-one present districts are above average, nine roughly equal regions, and 35 districts below average.

House District 65 in Northeast Colorado, represented by Rep. Rod Pelton, Republican for Cheyenne Wells; District 58 in southwest Colorado, represented by Mark Catlin, Republican from Montrose; District 29 in Jefferson County, represented by Representative Lindsay Dougherty, a Democrat from Arvada, are all now 10% below the average 2019 population. Three other Jefferson County Council seats are 6% or more below the average. , As in seven multi-county counties.

The largest district, Republican Rep. Richard Holtorf, County 64, a 20,000-square-mile area in southeastern Colorado, is 8.4% below the average. So it will likely capture 64 and 65 residents from growing urban areas, such as House District 56 in Adams and Arapahoe counties. That region, represented by Republican Rep. Rod Bukenfield, has grown nearly 32% and is 20% more than the average size.

At the other end of the spectrum, Denver House 7 County, represented by Representative Jennifer Bacon, Democratic Representative, has seen a 40% increase in population and 26% above the average. House District 49 in Larimer County, represented by Republican Rep. Mike Lynch of Wellington, is 17% higher than the average after growing about 28% in nine years.

Determining the Commission’s priorities in the state constitution

The commission, as well as the accompanying committee redrawing the maps of Congress in Colorado, should take into account populations and urban divisions such as cities, counties, and communities of interest. The legislative redistricting committee’s initial meeting last week included a discussion of delays in sharing US census data and potential solutions, some of which include preliminary mapping with the latest data.

Unlike congressional seats, it is easier to extract state legislative seats to represent the majority of Hispanic or black communities, redistricting experts say.

Gail Berry is a lobbyist and Republican who once represented Grand Junction in the House of Representatives and served on the 2011 Government Redistricting Committee. She remembered creating House District 50 in Greeley, an area primarily made up of Hispanic residents. In Denver and Aurora, there are areas with a majority of blacks.

“Concerned communities, which became a real topic in 2011,” said Berry.

These communities of interest and the prevention of dilute representation of the non-white population, along with the competitiveness of the provinces, are also among the committee’s considerations.

The public will have an opportunity to provide input on potential areas in 21 public hearings about it The state is scheduled to be scheduled before new maps are completed in December.

But Perry and Nicholas remember that many of those who attended similar redistricting hearings to testify in 2011 appeared to use the same standard language.

“Of the testimonies we received on the committee, 90% were settled by one side or the other,” said Nicholas. “It was as if they were reading the points.”

Another major difference in the current redistricting efforts is the requirement that those who are paid to influence the work of the commission disclose their compensation and who are paid to them within 72 hours of their appointment under government lobbying laws.

ProPublica has been identified The effect of dark money groups In the 2011 Colorado legislative redistricting process that can be traced back to Democratic and Republican political parties, as well as trade unions and other interests.

Agents from both parties have drawn up maps suggested by committee members, something that will not happen in the new process. Instead, professional staff will draw the proposed maps, and committee members can only suggest changes during public meetings.

Colorado State Representatives meet in the Senate on Thursday May 28, 2020 (Jesse Ball, Colorado Sun)

“The Democrats were much better at it,” Perry said of the map. “They really had people who went down in numbers. And look what happened in the last ten years. I think the state’s philosophy has changed, but I think the Democrats made a difference in changing those seats.”

At the first legislative committee meeting for redistricting last week, Commissioner John Buckley, a Republican from Colorado Springs, asked about the call from political party activists, describing them as “the 800-pound gorilla in the room.”

“I want to respect the process, but I also want to know that it will be honest,” Buckley said, asking, “How much of this information, if contacted, would be subject” to the open records laws.

Nicole Myers, a legislative legal officer who briefed the committee recently, said all communications with Commissioners in their official role count as a public record. But she added, “I am not required to keep these things.” If the document does not exist, it cannot be subject to requests for open records.

Perry said committee members can expect interaction from Democratic and Republican activists. “Both sides will,” Perry said. “It’s the fiercest policy I have ever participated in, just because the stakes are so great.”

The writer on the Colorado Sun Jesse Ball team contributed to this report.

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