Opinion | Susan Knopf: When it comes to representation, 2 is better than 1
For the Record
For the record, in Colorado unaffiliated registered voters outnumber Democrats, and Democrats outnumber Republicans. The numbers don’t support equal districting between Democrats and Republicans.
In Summit County, Democrats outnumber Republicans by 74%, and unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats by 67%.
There is a very interesting development in the congressional redistricting maps. Summit County was divided between two congressional districts. Now, we’re back to being in one district. Listening to the redistricting hearings, many people think being represented by one member of Congress is better than being represented by two.
I don’t get the logic. Why wouldn’t you want two people representing your interests instead of one?
The new map can still be redrawn.
I think two districts would be a super win. My friends who would have been a minority in Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s Front Range District 7 feared they would not be represented adequately. That district reportedly was to include Keystone Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Loveland Ski Area. I don’t think a Front Range U.S. representative is going to forget that or the people who live there!
I think the two-district map was a win because we kept Rep. Joe Neguse, who consistently aligns with our environmental concerns. Our environment is what we’re selling the tourists, and it’s why we live here.
It was a win because many thought we should be aligned with the Front Range since about one-third of our real estate is owned by Front Range folks and most of our tourism comes from there. Finally, we would have had a partner aligned with our Interstate 70 concerns. Wouldn’t it be great to finally get a rail system? Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath.
We’ll see where the lines finally shake out in the next couple of weeks. The final maps are due to the Colorado Supreme Court on Oct. 1.
By the way, none of the county’s leading elected officials agreed with me on this analysis, so they must be happy with the new single-district map.
The state house redistricting map is a big issue for local Dems. It now divides Summit County into two districts.
The districts aren’t competitive. Redistricting commission staff Director Jessika Shipley told me, in the chat box of a virtual town hall I attended, that the commission’s legal counsel determined the law says competitiveness has the least priority.
I disagree. The law repeatedly states competitiveness is a primary goal. If the commission continues to assert competitiveness is least important, they will be headed to court in my humble opinion.
The law specifically prohibits safeguarding incumbent seats. The commission gets an A+ on that one. Our terrific state representative, and Summit County local, Julie McCluskie is currently mapped into a district that is +6.8% Republican. That’s a big margin. We would likely lose her representation. Reportedly, the commission considers a +9% district competitive. Really? How much will such a split represent our environmental concerns?
The grapevine tells me county commissioners will move to put Summit County in one state house district. I hope they are successful in preserving McCluskie’s seat. McCluskie is the best legislator I’ve known. She is dedicated to working in the interest of the people of her district.
State Sen. Bob Rankin told me months ago he would not seek reelection. I hear Dems like the state Senate map. Why wouldn’t they? Summit County reportedly is in a +23% Democrat district.
Keep informed. Your participation can make a difference. Remember, we defeated the gravel pit after the state staff recommended approval. These maps will determine our representation for the next 10 years. Tell the commission what you think.
Board of education election
This week the Summit Daily News ran a story about our school board candidates. There was no “D” or “R” behind the names. That’s an issue because the Republicans have been very good at using appealing rhetoric, while their real agenda remains hidden.
Currently, taking over school boards is a big Republican strategy. There are four candidates running as a slate.
Don’t be fooled. The four are supported by a group that ran a very disturbing anti-critical race theory meeting. It was billed as a “community discussion,” but they shouted down a soft-spoken, retired kindergarten teacher for daring to offer information about community programs promoting racial harmony.
This group aligns with Republicans whose political platform favors vouchers, which bankrupt public schools. This group is looking to start its own so-called Christian school. Such schools are popularly known as white-flight schools. Beware!
Susan Knopf’s column “For the Record” publishes biweekly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf lives in Silverthorne. She is a certified ski instructor and an award-winning journalist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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