Compromise sought on redistricting

DENVER — Keep the Western Slope and eastern plains whole, don’t pair Colorado Springs with the southeast corner of the state, and please, oh please, put Boulder in someone else’s district.

Those were some of the many comments House and Senate lawmakers heard in dueling committee hearings on two proposed congressional redistricting maps Thursday.

“In the 3rd Congressional District ... we have similar interests in water, in agriculture, in mineral-lease sources, federal lands and tourism,” Grand Junction Mayor Tom Kenyon told the newly formed House Redistricting Committee. “We’re much more connected to Pueblo than we are to Boulder, and we appreciate you’re changing the map.”

Kenyon was reacting to an earlier map proposed by Democrats that split the Western Slope, connecting Mesa County with Boulder County and Montrose with some Denver suburbs.

That map has since been scrapped in favor of one that more closely mirrors the 3rd Congressional District’s current lines.

As House members heard public testimony from dozens of people on the Republican’s version of what the state’s lines should look like, senators did the same in a separate committee hearing elsewhere in the Capitol on the new Democratic map.

Separate bills, one for each map, will work their way through the legislative process, but few in the Capitol expect them to remain the same.

Lawmakers are working behind the scenes on a possible compromise between the two as the 2011 session nears adjournment, which is Wednesday.

If a compromise can’t be worked out, lawmakers could return to a special session later this year, or the matter could be decided by the courts.


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