Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Democrats Demand Competitive Congressional Districts

“Republicans are trying to create ‘congressmen-for-life’”

Today, Colorado Democrats made it clear that they don’t want congressional districts that create “congressmen for life.” The statement came as the Joint Select Committee on Redistricting held its first meeting since the release of proposed congressional district maps last week.

The creation of the Joint Select Committee was an historic, bipartisan endeavor by legislative leaders to perform the constitutionally mandated task of redrawing Colorado’s congressional lines following the decennial census. To gain input and direction into the redistricting process, the Committee held hearings and took testimony from Coloradans across the state.

Today, Democrats honored the testimony it received and demanded competitive congressional districts.

Colorado State Senator Rollie HeathSenator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), Co-Chair of the Joint Select Committee, said today:

“At every meeting that was held throughout the state, this committee heard one message loud and clear from the people of Colorado: make districts competitive. We were told that Coloradans don’t want ‘congressmen-for-life.’ Democrats listened to what we heard, and we drew maps with competitive districts.”

Competitive districts are good public policy: Districts that contain a balanced number of Independents, Democrats and Republicans hold candidates for political office more accountable. Districts that are closely balanced by party registration encourage candidates to refrain from polarizing stances that do not fit with Colorado’s electorate. Voter registration in the state shows that Colorado’s electorate does not overwhelmingly favor one party over the other, and nearly one-third of the population isn’t registered with either party at all. In Colorado, competitive districts just make sense.

The maps introduced by Democrats demonstrate their commitment to drawing competitive districts. Republican maps, on the other hand, are clearly drawn to cement a permanent GOP majority.

The charts below show the proposed party registration of Colorado’s seven congressional districts based on the maps provided by Democrats and Republicans, including the three maps made by Speaker Frank McNulty.

The “City Integrity” maps proposed by Democrats reflect the three main points expressed in public testimony:

● Districts should be competitive
● Cities should be kept whole
● Rural counties should be kept whole

Each Republican map ignores these principles and all but guarantees a Republican majority.

Democrats today called on Speaker McNulty and the Republican members of the legislature to abandon their partisan attacks and commit to honoring the will of the people of Colorado by drawing congressional districts that are fair and competitive.