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New House map transforms Evergreen’s district

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Boundaries approved by commission would add Park, Gilpin, Clear Creek counties

By Vicky Gits

New boundaries for state House District 25 would dramatically alter the composition of the district that traditionally has had Evergreen as its epicenter, adding Park, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties and eliminating the portion of Jeffco north of I-70.

The Colorado Reapportionment Commission on Monday voted 8-3 on a final House redistricting plan that adds the cities of Idaho Springs, Georgetown, Central City, Fairplay, Bailey and Black Hawk to the district that contains Evergreen, Genesee and Conifer. At least three other plans had made it to the final stages before Monday’s vote.

The changes still must be approved by the state Supreme Court.

Former HD 25 representative Rob Witwer, who is on the reapportionment committee, was strongly opposed to the change.

“(The district) is Republican either way, but it fragments the district and dilutes the voice of the mountain community. For years it was the Hogback to the county line,” Witwer said after casting one of the three no votes.

“It’s not a rewrite; it’s a whole new map,” Witwer said. Until last week all previous versions under consideration showed HD 25 as unchanged, said Witwer, who is concerned that the public wasn’t given a chance to comment before the changes were put to a final vote.

Cheri Gerou, a Republican from Evergreen, has represented HD 25 since she was first elected to the position in 2008. She was re-elected in 2010 in an uncontested race.

The plan also redraws House District 13, now represented by Claire Levy, a Boulder Democrat. She was first elected to the House in 2006.

“The fire districts in Evergreen, Lookout Mountain and Genesee rely on having a unified voice in western Jefferson County,” Witwer said.

The part of HD 25 that currently includes Arvada and Coal Creek Canyon would become HD 27. House District 13 would be limited to Boulder County, including Nederland, Allenspark and Lyons and the county’s less-populated mountain communities.

Each of the 65 House districts would contain about 77,000 people. The boundaries of the state’s Senate and House districts are redrawn every 10 years after the census to reflect population trends. There are 35 state Senate districts.

According to the reapportionment commission staff report, the new proposed HD 25 would contain the following areas and populations: Clear Creek County, 9,088; Gilpin, 5,441; part of Jefferson, 48,531; and Park County, 16,206; Based on the most recent voter registrations, the revised district would be predominantly Republican, with 32 percent unaffiliated, 28 percent Democrat and 39 percent Republican.

Grand County would move to District 63, becoming more united with the mountain areas of Eagle and Summit counties.

The reapportionment commission is an 11-member bipartisan body consisting of four legislative leaders, three people appointed by the governor and four people appointed by the chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court.

Precinct caucuses for the 2012 presidential election year will be the first Tuesday in February.

The criteria used for redistricting are set by federal law and the Colorado Constitution. Districts must be composed of contiguous election precincts. Counties and cities cannot be split unless necessary to achieve equal population. Communities of interest, such as ethnic, economic, cultural, demographic, trade area and geographic, are to be preserved in a single district wherever possible.

 

 

Draft map of 2012 state House districts approved Sept. 19

 

House District 25

West Jefferson County south of Interstate 70; Gilpin, Clear Creek and Park counties

(formerly, west Jefferson County only)

 

House District 13

Boulder and the mountains west of Boulder from Longmont south to Interstate 70, not including Golden, Wheat Ridge or Pleasantview. Currently represented by state Rep. Claire Levy.