Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Senate Republicans continue their fight to unfairly draw Colorado Congressional districts in their favor

“The only people afraid of a fair fight are those who can only win by hitting below the belt”

DENVER—Following a report by the Denver Post that Republicans have been drawing maps that would give their party a statewide political advantage, Senate G.O.P. members took to the Senate floor tonight to kill Senate Democrats’ “Colorado Compromise” redistricting map which would create fair, competitive congressional districts. This action comes as legislators took on the constitutionally mandated task of redrawing Colorado’s congressional lines. Redistricting must take place every 10 years following the U.S. Census to account for shifts in population.

On the Senate Republicans’ fight against fair districts tonight, Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) offered the following comment:

“If there’s one thing I learned in the Navy it’s that the only people afraid of a fair fight are those who can only win by hitting below the belt. In April, Republicans admitted to deliberately drawing districts to give their party an unfair political advantage and solidify their majority for the next decade. Colorado does not want Congressmen for life. Colorado voters deserve fair and competitive congressional districts that allow them to hold their elected representatives accountable.”

At the beginning of this legislative session, legislators formed an historic bipartisan redistricting committee. As originally conceived, the bipartisan committee was to work together to take input from people across the state and use that input to create a map that all sides could agree on. For the past 30 years, Colorado congressional maps have been settled in court, a costly and contentious outcome that legislators hope to avoid.

Since the committee completed its work on Friday, April 22, the Democrats and Republicans have each introduced their own maps, but neither map had consensus amongst legislators. Last week, Senate Democrats introduced the “Colorado Compromise” redistricting map. The Colorado Compromise map came together by taking public input given at meetings around the state, and it incorporates ideas advanced by both parties. The Colorado Compromise map includes districts that are competitive (five out of seven districts have less than a seven point difference between registered Republicans and Democrats) and that protect communities of interest such as city and county boundaries and transportation corridors.

Points of Compromise:

Below are points of compromise between “The Colorado Compromise” map released today and previous maps, both Democratic and Republican:

CD2-Does not put Grand Junction and Boulder in the same district. Central Mountain Community and tourism-based economy whole while other maps put Eagle County with parts of Weld County.

CD3- Does not put Grand Junction and Boulder in the same district. Keeps Western Slope whole to the same extent that Republican maps do.

CD4-Keeps Northern Colorado together and is more compact; while other maps have put Fort Collins and Baca County (South Eastern corner of Colorado) in the same district.

CD5-Keeps El Paso County whole based upon Republican requests. 5 military bases are kept together while other maps put Park (a Central Mountain County) with Elbert (an Eastern Plains County) in the same district.

CD6-Preserves E-470, C-470, I-225 transportation corridors while alternate maps put Parker with East Colfax in the same district.

CD7-Protects city integrity while alternate maps have split cities like Arvada, Westminster and Littleton.