The north Denver metro area has an inferiority complex and for good reason. For decades we have been ignored and neglected by the powers that be at the state capitol despite our growing populace. In the fight over congressional redistricting, Colorado Republicans appear set to repeat the wrongs of the past by ignoring the sixth largest city in the state.
The clock is ticking on the Colorado Legislature’s mandate to complete redistricting by the end of their session Wednesday. Democrats and Republicans both are trying to skew things into their party’s favor all while ignoring common sense and their mandate to keep districts compact and preserve communities of interest together.
Most troubling for voters in the north metro area, and more specifically Thornton, are proposed Republican maps which split the city from the rest of Adams County and lump us in with Boulder.
For the past 10 years we have been part of Congressional District 2, a situation which has seen us receive less than proper representation. By being in a district with leftist Boulder and mountain town elitists, our more moderate voices are ignored and drown out.
We are represented in Washington DC by Congressman Jared Polis, someone who we had great hope for. However his most notable achievement to date is becoming a marijuana champion and a hero of the illegal drug industry. Hardly a fit for Thornton and Adams County.
Adams County while historically slightly left-leaning, is also fiercely independent. Recent years have seen significant inroads by Republicans including a Republican mayor in Thornton and in the most recent election the party captured key county offices. The winds of change are in the air, particularly given the scandalous and potentially illegal actions of Adams County Democrats.
Despite this, Republicans at the capitol have forsaken us and any of their proposed redistricting plans leave us with Boulder. Should this type of situation come to pass, we are assured 10 more years of representation that does not reflect our views and wishes.
The most recent Republican map, unveiled yesterday, separates the north Denver metro area cities in Adams County from the rest of the county. Thornton as well as Northglenn, Broomfield / Broomfield County and both the Adams and Jefferson County parts of Westminster are all placed in a proposed CD2 that includes the most leftist parts of the state.
CD7, which is where the rest of Adams County would be, would connect via a small sliver of land north of I-70 to the bulk of Jefferson County, completely bypassing Thornton.
Other bizarre parts of the Republican plan include a small corner of Weld County including Dacono, Firestone and Fort Lupton that are split from the rest of their peers. Park County’s northeast corner suffers the same fate. Further south, a little chip is taken out of the southeast corner of Fremont County and placed in CD3.
And then we come to Longmont, a city within Boulder County and a stone’s throw from the city of Boulder. Despite this, the proposed map would split Longmont from the rest of the county and keep it in CD4. While that would make moderate Longmont residents happy, it makes little sense in the grand scheme of things. [Editor's note: I fully expect my Longmont friends to rip me over this one but they certainly fit with Boulder more than Thornton.]
As it stands the Republican solution makes absolutely no sense and relegates the City of Thornton to second rate citizens of CD2. This is simply unsatisfactory.
The way things are moving on redistricting it appears unlikely the legislature will agree to a solution. Instead, a judge will draw the congressional boundaries much like what happened last time. Of course given how that turned out for Thornton and Adams County last time, we have much to fear from that process as well.
Probably the biggest problem facing any of the folks drawing maps is quite frankly the City of Boulder. This liberal bastion second in leftist thought only to San Francisco tilts so far that anywhere the city is placed it is going to severely skew the district.
WhoSaidYouSaid had a great story yesterday with a quote from Rep. Daniel Pabon, D-Denver. Pabon said quite simply, “One thing, if you want to zoom out, that we heard quite dramatically, and we’ve heard this in different contexts, is no one wants to be with Boulder.”
You won’t get any argument from Democrats or Republicans on that point.