Club 20 likes GOP redistricting plan

A Republican measure in the Colorado House would reinstate some of the redistricting criteria that were removed in the last session by Democrats.

The latest bill, H.B. 1276, garnered the support of Western Slope advocacy organization Club 20 in calling for congressional districts to be built around communities of interest and with limited boundary changes. It also would require the Legislature to ignore party affiliation in drafting congressional districts.

The Western Slope has been considered a community of interest, Club 20 noted, and it should be contained within a single congressional district.

Those communities are better served by representatives who “fully understand the issues in these areas and can give them the attention they deserve,” Club 20 Executive Director Bonnie Petersen said. “Destroying these communities of interest could deal a devastating blow to the ethnic, cultural and economic characteristics of our most treasured areas.”

State Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, blasted the bill as “undermining” the work of an independent redistricting committee that is touring the state and hearing comments about how Colorado’s seven congressional districts should be drawn.

Pace is considered a potential candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of the Western Slope and much of southern Colorado.

The bill by state Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, and state Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Ignacio, would result in “narrowly drawn, gerrymandered districts,” Pace said. “They’re repeating history with another bad idea, similar to the ‘Midnight Gerrymandering’ plan they rammed through the Legislature in 2003.”

Pace was referring to a bill approved when Republicans controlled both houses of the Legislature.

Before they lost full control of the Legislature, Democrats stripped out the wording that Republicans want put back into redistricting legislation.

HB 1276 is to be heard in committee March 16.

The redistricting committee is to meet from 9 a.m. to noon March 19 in Grand Junction in the Mesa State College Student Center ballroom.


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