Final Colorado Legislature maps move to state Supreme Court after redistricting commission gives thumbs up

Summit County remains in House District 61, Senate District 8

Members of the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission speak with community members during a hearing July 31 in Frisco. The hearing provided Coloradans a chance to voice their input for preliminary map drawings.
Ashley Low/For the Summit Daily News

It’s looking like Summit County is staying within State House District 61. Earlier this week, the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions voted 11-1 to approve the state House map, meaning the plan now moves to the state Supreme Court for final approval.

Many community leaders are satisfied with where Summit ended up.

Since the commission began developing these maps in late summer, Summit County has bounced between the 60th and 61st House districts. In the first plan, the county was divided along Interstate 70 into two districts, causing concern for many local leaders.

All that’s in the past now as a new House district plan was approved by the commission Monday, Oct. 11. In addition to Summit County, House District 61 will encompass Lake, Park, Grand and Jackson counties and all but one precinct of Chaffee County. Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue said she was relieved to see that Summit was kept whole in the approved plan.

“I think that the commission has gotten this one right,” she said. “First of all, I appreciate that they recognized that Summit County is simply too small of a county to be divided up. On the prior map, I had some pretty considerable concerns about the fact that the eastbound and westbound lines of (Interstate) 70 were actually in different districts, which just didn’t make a lot of sense. So this maps makes a lot more sense in terms of having effective representation in the House, which I appreciate.”

The reason Pogue said she felt relieved about Summit’s positioning on the map is the same reason Summit County Rep. Julie McCluskie said she felt disheartened for Chaffee, which has one of its precincts lumped into House District 60.

“People here locally wanted to see Summit County stay whole within one district,” McCluskie said. “They had voiced that through some of the hearings. I am sure Chaffee County would like that same consideration, and unfortunately, there’s one precinct that is not in House District 61 and in a different district.”

McCluskie, who represents House District 61, noted that it’s only retaining two counties — Summit and Lake — and that she’s worked hard to build relationships in Delta, Gunnison and Pitkin counties, which are no longer in the district. Even so, she said she’s looking forward to building new relationships on the Western Slope when she runs for reelection and noted that Summit County shares many of the same characteristics with its new neighbors.

From a Summit perspective, Pogue said she was glad to see the community grouped with other communities of similar interests. She pointed out that, among other things, Lake and Grand counties both have ski resorts like Summit.

“I also think they’ve gotten it right in terms of communities of interest and keeping communities of interest together,” Pogue said. “We know that the vast majority of our workforce commutes to Summit County from Grand, Lake and Park counties. And I think from a housing perspective, from a school district perspective, from a transportation perspective, having these five counties grouped together makes a lot of sense.”

CJ Milmoe, vice chairman for Summit County Colorado Republicans, also pointed out that a few of the counties surrounding Summit share similar needs and will be more convenient to lead from a political standpoint.

“Summit County has a community of interest with those counties, and the district is compact enough so a candidate from Summit County will be able to campaign effectively,” he wrote in an email.

The same goes for the newly approved Senate district map. Like the House map, Pogue said she believed Summit was lumped with other counties of similar interests.

“We certainly have things in common with Eagle, Grand and Routt from a ski industry perspective, and certainly we know that some of our workforce comes from Clear Creek and some of our workforce comes from Grand County so there’s some similarities there,” Pogue said.

Milmoe said he was also happy with the way the Senate map turned out.

“Keeping Summit County in Colorado Senate District 8 puts us with Western Slope counties with whom we have a community of interest,” Milmoe wrote. “That community of interest is based on the fact that our economies are based on the land and the food, mineral and tourism opportunities that exist in Summit County and the Western Slope.”


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