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Garfield County pens resolution supporting two rural districts

July 8, 2021

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners has signed a resolution supporting the creation of two wholly rural congressional districts in the state during the upcoming redistricting process, which begins July 9. Through the 2020 U.S. Census, Colorado gained a congressional seat due to the increase in its population and the state redraws its congressional districts every 10 years.

The boundaries of the new congressional redistricting map are to be determined by an independent 12-member commission, which was established in 2018 when voters supported Amendment Y. Amendment Z also passed that year, creating another 12-member commission to redraw state legislative districts. The Colorado Supreme Court will approve the maps in December of this year.

“I think we needed to express our wishes and desires to the commission,” said Commissioner Mike Samson. “The commissioners of Garfield County encourage the congressional redistricting commission to ensure Colorado’s rural population is effectively represented through the creation of two fully rural, or as near as possible, districts.”

The resolution supports more representation from rural Colorado, “which has unique interests that are sometimes contrary to the interests for Front Range communities.” The resolution notes that while the West Slope has long been considered a “community of interest,” the Eastern Plains and southern Colorado should be considered the same.

“The Western Slope of Colorado is a community of interest that deserves to be made whole within one congressional district,” the resolution reads. “The Eastern Plains and southern Colorado is a community of interest that deserves its own congressional district.”

It added that both potential district’s economies are driven by agriculture, energy industry and tourism and that roughly a quarter of the state’s population calls these areas home. The resolution passed unanimously, 3-0.

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