The Crestone Eagle • August, 2021
New congressional & legislation maps being drawn
SLV congressional district will likely change, public meetings scheduled
by Lisa Cyriacks
Preliminary maps published June 23 show the San Luis Valley moving from Congressional District 3 to Congressional District 4. The proposed maps are likely to undergo changes, and are the next step in the process to redraw Colorado’s political maps.
Due to strong population growth over the past decade, Colorado will vote on an eighth congressional seat in the 2022 election. The preliminary map shows the new 8th District in the north Metro Denver area. This district has a significant Latino population, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce lobbied heavily for its creation.
The changes from adding an 8th District resulted in significant changes to the other seven districts.
Congressional District 3 will change significantly. San Luis Valley residents are currently in CD3, and currently represented by controversial first-term Republican Lauren Boebert of Garfield County. Boebert’s district loses Pueblo County in addition to the San Luis Valley, but adds resort communities in Eagle and Summit counties.
Voter registration data from the statewide 2018 Attorney General race shows the change would strengthen the Republican vote in Congressional District 3. The change would also permit Kerry Donovan, who lives in Vail, to become the top Democratic challenger for Boebert’s seat. Several announced candidates from southern Colorado working to unseat Boebert would be ineligible to run in the 3rd district if this map is adopted, including state Rep. Don Valdez, Sol Sandoval and Susan Martinez. Instead these candidates would be eligible to run in District 4.
The resulting 4th District would be a largely rural district that encompasses the Eastern Plains, Pueblo County, and the San Luis Valley. A document summarizing the most common public comments revealed that there was strong public feedback and support to keep Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley together and group it with the Eastern Plains, noting the “historic ties between the San Luis Valley and Pueblo.”
Under the Colorado Constitution, congressional districts are required to satisfy a range of criteria, including population equality and contiguity, as well as, to the extent possible, preservation of “communities of interest” and existing subdivisions like county borders, and to “maximize the number of politically competitive districts.”
Although these maps are preliminary, changes are likely over the coming weeks.
A second independent redistricting commission has also drawn state legislative maps consisting of 35 senators and 65 representatives. Unlike the congressional districts where a seat was added, the number of seats in the Colorado Senate and House of Representatives have not changed.
The proposed state legislative maps leave the San Luis Valley intact and contained within one district at both the Senate and House level. House District 62, currently represented by Democrat Donald Valdez, remains largely the same. The existing Senate District 35, currently represented by Republican Cleave Simpson, would change significantly. The eastern boundary would stop at Las Animas County and add Custer, Fremont and Teller counties.
At this point in the process, public feedback is being solicited at a total of 32 meetings statewide and changes to the maps are to be expected. The commissions will be in Alamosa on August 6 to meet with the public. Time and place will be published when available.