Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission comes to Golden

Local residents, officials voice concerns with preliminary maps

Ryan Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/11/21

Residents from Golden and surrounding municipalities gathered in the auditorium of Golden High School on Aug. 4 to give feedback to the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission on the …

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Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission comes to Golden

Local residents, officials voice concerns with preliminary maps

Posted

Residents from Golden and surrounding municipalities gathered in the auditorium of Golden High School on Aug. 4 to give feedback to the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission on the preliminary maps of redrawn congressional and state legislative districts.

The commission is in the midst of a statewide tour to gauge community response to the maps, which are redrawn every 10 years to adjust for changes in population. Colorado was awarded an Eighth Congressional District in April — the Centennial State’s first new district in 20 years — after gaining more than 750,000 new residents in the last decade.

Golden is currently in House District 24 and Congressional District 7, where the city of 20,000 is served by state Rep. Monica Duran and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

Under the districts proposed in the preliminary maps, Golden would be bisected into the 24th and 12th State House Districts. While Golden would remain in the 7th Congressional District, neighboring Jefferson County municipalities such as Arvada and Lakewood would be split into the 8th and 1st Congressional Districts, respectively.

Many community members from Golden and the surrounding areas came to the Aug. 4 meeting to voice their concerns about the preliminary maps, the most common of which was the segmenting of Jefferson County that would occur under the proposed districts.

Golden Mayor Laura Weinberg was among the first to voice her desire to keep Jefferson County in the same congressional district, citing the county’s many shared services.

“We’ve worked very closely and collaboratively on issues that go beyond our (cities’) own individual borders,” said Weinberg. “We’ve worked very closely over the past year and a half on public health and on the COVID-19 response and communication. We’re working on the opioid crisis and funding that we will likely be seeing here soon as a county and region.

“We also work closely on issues of homelessness with the shared homeless navigator program,” Weinberg continued, “housing affordability programs, issues that affect us as students and employees move across our area of transportation and mobility. … With all of these close connections and ties, we’d love to keep all of our municipalities within the same congressional district as most if not all of these issues are important at the federal level.”

Golden City Councilmember Jim Dale echoed Weinberg’s concerns, emphasizing shared projects and common interests with surrounding communities.

“We share commonalities,” said Dale, “with Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Lakewood — Highway 6 runs out of Denver to Lakewood — and as we work together on DRCOG on transportation issues, we have to collaborate. … I urge you to think about keeping the cities around Golden and Jeffco together. We work together, we serve together, we solve problems together, and we do that better than when we’re apart.”

Regarding the proposed legislative districts, Weinberg advocated for keeping Golden together in one district, citing the city’s relatively low population.

“The current State Senate map has our city of Golden split in two,” said Weinberg. “We are not a large city; we are approximately 20,000 to 21,000 residents, and you’ve cut us in half. Half in one senate district and half in the other. We are one local unit of government. We share the same parks, streets, police, fire, water. We have the same representatives locally on our City Council, the same city priorities, city goals, city budget, and we would be much better served by having the same state senate district.

“So,” Weinberg continued, “as mayor for all of Golden I ask that you please re-look at those maps and keep our city as a local jurisdiction complete and one state senate district on the legislative redistricting process.”

The commission will continue to hold community meetings through the end of August, with upcoming meetings slated for Boulder on Aug. 11 and Greeley on Aug. 14. A full schedule and archive of the commission’s meetings can be found at redistricting.colorado.gov/meetings.

The first elections under the new districts will be in 2022.

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