Vail Valley reps land in new state legislative districts
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Most of Eagle County would land in new state House and Senate districts under a new under a plan unveiled late Monday.
So far, the boundaries shake out like this:
• House District 63: The plan would group the eastern end of the Vail Valley with Summit and Grand counties in the new House District 63, in Colorado’s state House of Representatives.
• House District 61: It would break off Gypsum and Dotsero and lump them with Pitkin, Gunnison and Tinsdale counties and Glenwood Springs in House District 61.
• Senate District 5: In the Colorado Senate, Eagle County would be in the new 5th district with Pitkin, Delta, Gunnison, Lake, Chaffee and Tinsdale counties. We’d be represented by Roger Wilson, a Garfield County Democrat. He beat incumbent Kathleen Curry from Gunnison, who said she’s had enough of being a Democrat and ran as an independent.
Speaking of elections, the new House District 63 now has two incumbents, Grand County Republican Randy Baumgardner and Summit County Democrat Millie Hamner. Baumgardner won re-election last time around. Hamner was appointed to her seat when Christine Scanlan resigned shortly after her election.
We used to be represented in the Colorado Senate by Republican Jean White, and before that her husband Republican Al White, and before that Republican Jack Taylor.
If the Colorado Supreme Court approves the plan, we’ll get Gail Schwartz, a Snowmass Village Democrat.
The Colorado Reapportionment Commission was charged with drawing new boundaries for state legislative districts, which will last 10 years. The plan still has to be approved by the courts.
The plans were made public late Monday and commission staffers say their phones and emails began lighting up almost immediately, mostly from people who don’t like the way the commission colored inside the new lines.
Grand County folks were particularly outspoken, pointing out with great enthusiasm that under the criteria of grouping communities of interest into congressional districts, they should not be lumped with Boulder.
The 11-member Reapportionment Commission is comprised of state lawmakers, an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, five each.
The maps were drawn by the commission’s chairman and only unaffiliated member, Mario Carrera, a Spanish-language TV executive.
Colorado has 100 legislative districts, between the House and Senate, and Carrera says 33 are competitive.
Right now, Democrats hold the state Senate with a 20-15 majority. Republicans hold the House with a 33-32 majority.
“With 33 competitive districts, both Democrats and Republicans will have to work hard for a majority in both chambers,” Carrera said. “I believe that having an unaffiliated voter on this commission was no accident.”
The Colorado Constitution does not list “competitivenesss” as one of its reapportionment criteria, points out on its website that the organization Clear the Bench Colorado.
House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, doesn’t like Carrera’s new maps, not even a little bit, but they’re still better than the ones the Democrats came up with 10 years ago.
“The House map approved by the reapportionment commission today falls short of the bar of being a fair map for all Coloradans,” McNulty said in a written statement. “It is, however, better than the partisan map adopted by Democrats 10 years ago.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.