by Chet Hardin
If you haven't heard, the state General Assembly was tasked this session (which ends tonight) with redrawing Colorado's congressional districts. There were a number of factors that they were to take into consideration — population shifts since the last census being chief among them.
Well, they haven't been able to pull it off. The Republicans have accused the Democrats of playing politics with their proposed map, and the Democrats have said that the Republicans just want to draw "safe" districts in which there will be little in the way of an electoral challenge to the ruling party.
Like here in the 5th, where only an act of God could ever undo Republican control of the seat.
On Tuesday, the El Paso County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution "opposing any division of El Paso County in the course of the 2011 decennial congressional redistricting."
In the maps originally proposed by the Democrats, CD 5 and CD 3 would have been redrawn dramatically, moving two of the county's military installations from the former into the latter. The Republicans didn't like that, so the Democrats proposed a "Colorado Compromise" map that keeps the county whole.
In CD 5, county Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams filed suit for the Repubs; Vice Chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party Christine Le Lait filed for the Dems.
Anyway, here's that County Commission resolution:
WHEREAS, the responsibility of equalizing the population of Colorado's Congressional Districts should be accomplished in a manner that creates compact, contiguous districts; and
WHEREAS, Congressional Districts should be configured to preserve and enhance the economic, cultural, geographic, educational and historic integrity of communities in order to assist each member of Congress to become an expert on matters of significance to their district's citizens; and
WHEREAS, EI Paso County is the proud home of Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Station and the United States Air Force Academy, constituting an unquestionable and cohesive community of active duty military personnel, retirees and veterans; and
WHEREAS, this cohesive community of interest includes more than 43-thousand active duty military personnel and their families, and nearly 80-thousand military retirees, veterans and their families; and
WHEREAS, More than 95% of the active duty personnel and civilian support personnel associated with these military and their families are residents of EI Paso County; and
WHEREAS, the presence of five prominent military installations in a single congressional district assures Colorado residents an authoritative voice in discussions regarding military readiness and appropriations, resulting in billions of dollars of economic value to the region and the state each year; and
WHEREAS, in 2002 the Colorado Supreme Court upheld Denver District Court Judge John Coughlin's opinion stating in part that " ... It is clear when you take into consideration the military and their dependents at these five military facilities, along with the large number of military retirees in EI Paso County, that there exists a large segment of the people of EI Paso County with community interest revolving around the military. For this reason, it is imperative that EI Paso County not be split"; and
WHEREAS, EI Paso County maintains common interests and geographic boundaries with a number of local government bodies - including the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and its eight incorporated cities and towns - in addition to a host of organizations and partners focused on local tourism, transportation, services to our active military and veterans, and other critical economic, infrastructure and community outreach initiatives; and
WHEREAS, all discussions of redistricting should be premised upon preserving the integrity of EI Paso County within a single Congressional District.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of County Commissioners, EI Paso County, Colorado, that the Board strongly supports keeping all of EI Paso County within the Fifth Congressional District of Colorado, and opposes any redistricting plan that might interfere with the highly successful traditional community partnership among the City of Colorado Springs, EI Paso County and our five highly regarded military installations.
DONE THIS 10th day of May 2011 at Colorado Springs, Colorado.