Monday, April 18, 2011

Coram Disappointed with Democrats Redistricting

State Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, was appointed at the beginning of the year to serve on the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Redistricting. Friday, he reacted with disappointment when the Committee reviewed maps proposed by Democrat members of the committee to redraw the state’s congressional districts.

“It was an honor to be appointed to this committee, and I have taken my role on the panel seriously, because it is our Constitutional duty to draw a fair and reasonable map for all of Colorado,” Coram said. “I am disappointed and frustrated, because I believed that the committee would live up to that charge and many of the proposed maps we saw today do nothing of the sort.”

Coram said that his focus on the committee has been to ensure that proposed Republican maps that are meet the following criteria:

1) Disrupt current districts as little as possible
2) Incorporate feedback from residents of the State of Colorado
3) Maintain county and municipal boundaries and communities of interest as much as possible

“I’m proud to say that the Republican proposals lived up to the principles of fairness and transparency that we set for ourselves,” Coram said. “Unfortunately, that was not the case for the proposals that were presented by our Democrat colleagues. If adopted, their maps would completely silence the voice of rural Colorado, completely disenfranchise the good people of the Western Slope, the San Luis Valley and the Eastern Plains.”

“Each of the six maps proposed by Democrats would split the current Third Congressional District, which covers the Western Slope, in a West to East line by moving Mesa, Park, Delta, Gunnison, and Chaffee Counties into the same congressional district as liberal Boulder County,” said Coram.

The maps also would split Northern Colorado between two congressional districts, literally drawing a line through the center of Larimer County. The maps in some cases would go as far as to include the suburban Arapahoe County in the Fourth Congressional District.

As far as Southeastern Colorado is concerned, the maps would combine the southern portion of the current Third Congressional District on the Western Slope with the southern portion of the Fourth Congressional District on the Eastern Plains. The new district that would be created to cover Southeast Colorado also would include Pueblo and significant portions of El Paso County.

“I am disappointed that the Democrat proposals ignore the voices of the citizens who traveled to attend one or more of our ten meetings,” Coram said. “At no time did I hear a resident of Mesa, Moffat, or Rio Blanco County ask to be lumped in with Boulder in the Second Congressional District.”

The maps that were released at the Joint Select Committee on Redistricting hearing Friday will be discussed by the committee and then legislation will be introduced and debated before the Legislature in the coming weeks.

“I would ask that my fellow rural representatives to stand with me and represent our rural constituents by opposing these plans,” Coram said.

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