Monday, April 25, 2011

Statehouse members cry gerrymandering over El Paso County split

GOP members of the Statehouse from El Paso County oppose Democrat redistricting plans, and echoed the call of their constituents to keep their County whole.

Under current proposals, El Paso County would be cut in half. Military bases like Peterson Air Force Base, the Air Force Academy, and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station would stay in the Fifth Congressional District while Fort Carson and Schriever Air Force Base would be moved to the Third Congressional District.

“The plan that splits El Paso County will hurt Colorado’s military members,” said Rep. Mark Barker, R-Colorado Springs. “The thousands of service members, their families and civilians who work on these military bases would have their voices muted if one of these plans were adopted.”

The new plans also could jeopardize ongoing and future water projects that affect El Paso County.

“If redistricting goes exactly as the Democrats would like, water issues become far more complicated,” added Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan. “Critical water projects like the Southern Delivery System may now be at risk of being run less efficiently due to this gerrymandering.”

Barker and Looper join Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, Assistant Majority Leader Mark Waller, and Reps. Larry Liston, Bob Gardner, Mark Barker, Janak Joshi, all Colorado Springs Republicans.

“It’s appalling, despite the public outcry, that Democrats continue to stick to their plan to divide El Paso County,” concluded Waller. “These maps mean one thing for Coloradans who live around El Paso County – fractured and inefficient representation.”

The bipartisan redistricting committee was created at the beginning of the legislative session to propose maps that would help the Legislature fulfill its constitutional duty to redraw Colorado’s congressional lines following the 2010 Census.

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