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Chandra Wilkins

Commission: congressional

Zip: 80917

Submittted: April 15, 2021

Comment:

I really enjoy listening to the thoughtful comments and questions of the commissioners, because I often find myself asking the same questions. I am also thankful that our biggest active voting block, the Unaffiliated voters, are represented by Madam Chair Hare. I believe her to be succinct, thoughtful, and a good leader. I am enjoying the process and am thankful for all of your hard work in setting a precedence for the coming years.

Alvin Rivera

Commission: congressional

Zip: 81005

Submittted: April 15, 2021

Comment:

In hopes of complying with your guidelines, initially, the record must clearly show that CD-3 is in serious need of revisiting in order to bring a fairer district to CD-3. So, these are my proposed “shared communities of interests,” starting with the geography by … : 1) Ethnicity in Colorado; 2) water resources; 3) schools: distribution of educational and institutional resources: 4)a separate category of sharing broadband communication networks; 5) resources distribution of shared economics of the state within this district; 6) transportation resources relative to the district in the context of the State of Colorado, and finally, 7) rural communities. GEOGRAPHY: It is my intention to address each of the numbers1-7 above. However, let’s get the geography clear at the outset. The state of Colorado should be divided almost in half. Meaning, a line should be drawn across the entire state (just below) south of Colorado Springs, CO. This picture is essential to further understand the commonality of the “communities of interest.” Generally, this area is often referred to as the Southern Colorado River Basins (SCRB). These districts include: the Rio Grande , Conejos (San Luis) and Arkansas River Valleys, Pueblo, and the northern areas from Pueblo north to the southern El Paso County line. As I recall, these populations exceed 724,000. Keep in mind this line runs entirely across the state and should meet the requirements of the population distribution in these Congressional Districts. 1) Ethnicity: There is ample evidence that the Hispanic population (now referred to as “Latinx”) has been here in this region of Colorado for generations, dating back to the 1800s. They have shared cultural values, including farming and water usage over that time period. Moreover, educationally, Latinx students in this community of interest enjoy the benefit of being from “Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI)” (24% or greater student populations) including Ft. Lewis College (Durango), Pueblo Community College, the University of Southern Colorado (Pueblo) , Adams State University (Alamosa) and possibly others in this proposed district. Indeed, for more than the last decade, Ft. Lewis College has been recognized as a Native American serving non-tribal college by the U.S. Department of Education. When I worked in Washington, D. C, I provided Congressional testimony in 1979 to both Houses on behalf of the Hispanic Higher Education Coalition (HHEC)) to create the beginnings of HSI. 2) Water Resources: It is fair to say with some authority that the SCRB have shared water resources for generations through the system of acequias, irrigation, dating back as far as the Old Santa Fe Trail. These groups, mostly indigenous communities, immediately impacted thousands, if not millions, of people over the generations who benefited from the water resources. The truth is that this water resource has been the driving force for state and federal governments. The management of water issues in this locale has had a significant impact on all water related issues, including agriculture, ranching, mining and tourism. It is entirely fair to consider this water jurisdiction as a “community of interest.” In fact, to do otherwise, is unwise given the history of this area. 3) Schools: As an educator from public schools through universities and my wife a middle school teacher of 26 years, we are very mindful how our educational community benefits as a community of interest. Institutions of higher learning in this community of interest are the Pueblo Community College (PCC) which serves several counties including Fremont, Archuleta, Dolores, Plata, and possibly others; Colorado State University-Pueblo, Adams State University (Alamosa) and Fort Lewis College in Durango. These higher education campuses serve many, if not most, of the citizens in their jurisdictions. Moreover, PCC, CSU-Pueblo and ASU are all federally designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI). Too, El Paso County should be included, as well, because it has partnerships with the other two- and four-year colleges that now include nursing programs. Further, one cannot dismiss the urban and suburban areas of southern El Paso County schools. The school districts share common concerns and challenges regarding the large number of low-income families, minorities and a tax-base insufficient for school funding. It is fair to say, these are definitely “communities with shared deprivation of interests as well.” 4) Communication Networks: A separate category is the sharing of broadband communication networks. The future communication networks will require broadband networks. At this writing, this community of interest has 20% less access for the SCRB, vs. non SCRB populations. Moreover, the fact that these mountain and rural area populations have less access to broadband is very disappointing. Further, it is evident that newspaper sources, such as, the Pueblo Chieftain, the Thrifty Nickel, and the Canon City Record are good media sources for the SCRB populations. 5) Shared “economics” in SCRB: It is unfortunate that the SCRB includes a majority of counties in the bottom income and benefits level in 2019. According to the Colorado Department of Education for 2019-2020 a large number of families live in poverty. This is not a hopeful scenario for CD-3. However, a redistricted CD-3 or a new independent CD could be a hopeful optimistic district to bring greater equity to the state of Colorado. Also, if this were to occur, it would improve statewide planning and, potentially, provide a better opportunity for regional planning resulting in a much stronger position to improve the economy and reduce the impact of disadvantaged locales. 6) Transportation: At this writing, there is no east-west interstate highway in southern Colorado. As a result, there has been a long history of neglecting economic development and growth in the current CD-3. There is no doubt that such a highway system would bring potentially greater urban development in rural communities. Further, in the southern part of the proposed CD-3, if resources could be made available, a major airport would be developed to achieve greater access, training for expanding the needed number of airplane pilots and bring needed employment to this part of the CD-3. Additionally, there is a need to improve the railroad system that already goes through much of CD-3, which would create a financial investment to benefit the district and bring economic development to the district almost immediately. 7) Rural Communities: Much of Colorado is “rural”, with the exception of a handful of major unban cities. The communities of interest could benefit greatly by these suggestions above. Since Pueblo is the biggest city with over 100,000 residential populations included in the proposed redistricting, this could be an ideal time to use Pueblo as a hub for the surrounding “communities of interests” as proposed by the redistricting of this area. The future of southern Colorado could benefit greatly from these proposed “communities of interest” in changing Congressional boundaries. Moreover, I hope the policy-decision-makers weighing in on the redistricting decisions are listening. The collective well-being of southern Colorado hangs in the balance. Thank you. Peace, Alvin Rivera , CD-3

Sharleen Farmer

Commission: legislative

Zip: 81120

Submittted: April 14, 2021

Comment:

Thank you, Legislative Redistricting Commission staff, for your hard work on the 2021 redistricting project. We appreciate the time and consideration you are putting into this subject. Conejos County is a rural county located in the southwest corner of the San Luis Valley. Conejos was first settled in 1856 and became one of the first counties in the Colorado territory. Many of our residents have familial ties back to these early settlers and the Native American tribes that predate the official settlement of the area. Like many rural areas in Colorado, Conejos has seen its share of success and decline throughout the years. Unfortunately, the last several years have been a struggle for many county residents. Currently 8,200 people live in Conejos County. The county covers 1,291 square miles. The county is comprised of several small towns and communities, each with a population of less than 1000 residents. Poverty is a big issue in Conejos affecting approximately 20% of the population. Economically the county is primarily a farming and ranching community. We also have local restaurants, churches, beauty salons, grocery stores, maintenance shops, auto and farm equipment repair shops, lumber yards, hardware stores, liquor stores, gas stations, a nursing home, hospital, dental office, veterinary clinic, feed store, and several discount stores. Most county residents get what they can from local stores, but the bulk of shopping takes place in Alamosa (the largest town in the valley). For specialty items and for specialty healthcare, residents are forced to travel outside of the county and for some things, outside of the valley to major cities such as Pueblo. While some of the county residents are able to secure employment in the county at the various businesses and farms, many are required to seek employment in Alamosa County. Conejos County has three school districts that educate the county’s 1,567 children. The schools in the county serve as a community hub bringing residents together for athletic events, school plays, etc.… Attracting and retaining high quality educators and providing an excellent education to all county students is a prime focus for area residents. Unfortunately, low salaries hinder the recruitment and retention of educators and lack of financial resources hinder the opportunities available for students. There are many local churches representing several denominations in Conejos County. In fact, the oldest church in Colorado is the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish located in the town of Conejos. Church activities bring many county residents together but have also been a source of discord over the years between the Catholic and Mormon communities. Protecting our natural resources is of prime focus for Conejos County residents; not only ensuring that we have clean water and air, but also ensuring that our water rights are protected and preserved. Our farming and ranching communities are dependent on the water resources of the valley’s rivers and aquifer. Conejos County is an incredible place to live with a long and rich history. Our hope is that the preliminary map that will be developed by your commission will reflect our community aspirations to protect farming and ranching, protect our water resources, improve educational opportunities, foster higher education and technical training, and promote economic development. Thank you for considering our written comment and drawing up a map that is fair and representative of Conejos County citizens.

Sharleen Farmer

Commission: congressional

Zip: 81120

Submittted: April 14, 2021

Comment:

Thank you, Congressional Commission staff, for your hard work on the 2021 redistricting project. We appreciate the time and consideration you are putting into this subject. Conejos County is a rural county located in the southwest corner of the San Luis Valley. Conejos was first settled in 1856 and became one of the first counties in the Colorado territory. Many of our residents have familial ties back to these early settlers and the Native American tribes that predate the official settlement of the area. Like many rural areas in Colorado, Conejos has seen its share of success and decline throughout the years. Unfortunately, the last several years have been a struggle for many county residents. Currently 8,200 people live in Conejos County. The county covers 1,291 square miles. The county is comprised of several small towns and communities, each with a population of less than 1000 residents. Poverty is a big issue in Conejos affecting approximately 20% of the population. Economically the county is primarily a farming and ranching community. We also have local restaurants, churches, beauty salons, grocery stores, maintenance shops, auto and farm equipment repair shops, lumber yards, hardware stores, liquor stores, gas stations, a nursing home, hospital, dental office, veterinary clinic, feed store, and several discount stores. Most county residents get what they can from local stores, but the bulk of shopping takes place in Alamosa (the largest town in the valley). For specialty items and for specialty healthcare, residents are forced to travel outside of the county and for some things, outside of the valley to major cities such as Pueblo. While some of the county residents are able to secure employment in the county at the various businesses and farms, many are required to seek employment in Alamosa County. Conejos County has three school districts that educate the county’s 1,567 children. The schools in the county serve as a community hub bringing residents together for athletic events, school plays, etc.… Attracting and retaining high quality educators and providing an excellent education to all county students is a prime focus for area residents. Unfortunately, low salaries hinder the recruitment and retention of educators and lack of financial resources hinder the opportunities available for students. There are many local churches representing several denominations in Conejos County. In fact, the oldest church in Colorado is the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish located in the town of Conejos. Church activities bring many county residents together but have also been a source of discord over the years between the Catholic and Mormon communities. Protecting our natural resources is of prime focus for Conejos County residents; not only ensuring that we have clean water and air, but also ensuring that our water rights are protected and preserved. Our farming and ranching communities are dependent on the water resources of the valley’s rivers and aquifer. Conejos County is an incredible place to live with a long and rich history. Our hope is that the preliminary map that will be developed by your commission will reflect our community aspirations to protect farming and ranching, protect our water resources, improve educational opportunities, foster higher education and technical training, and promote economic development. Thank you for considering our written comment and drawing up a map that is fair and representative of Conejos County citizens.

Magenta Freeman

Commission: congressional

Zip: 80110

Submittted: April 13, 2021

Comment:

My biggest concern is that communities with people of color have the opportunity to have an equitable voice in Congress regarding their unique concerns. It should be clear by this point, after 2020, that the majority culture has a hugely disproportionate amount of access and influence in our country politically. Likewise, people of color receive disproportionate impact negatively from government policies and gaps, as the pandemic exposed. This imbalance must be addressed in order for significant positive change to occur in our society.

Patricia Farmer

Commission: congressional

Zip: 80447

Submittted: April 13, 2021

Comment:

To the Colorado Redistricting Commission My thanks to the Commission and staff for accepting public comments. My name is Patricia Farmer and I live in the town of Grand Lake, Colorado. We are in the second Congressional district. I am happy with our current district. It is a good balance between urban and rural voters, and since Grand County is all rural, we need that balance. Please leave the 2nd Congressional District as it is now. Thank you for your time and attention

Emily Gorgol

Commission: congressional

Zip: 80521

Submittted: April 13, 2021

Comment:

As a member of Fort Collins City Council I believe it is important for Fort Collins to remain part of CD2. Fort Collins identifies and is part of a regional system including housing, economic development, natural resource management. Redistricting Fort Collins to another CD would diminish the relationships and regional collaboration we have built over the past decades. Our regional approach with other cities such as Boulder has led to CSU/CU collaboration resulting in world class research. Our collaborative approach with Estes and Loveland contributes to the management of Rocky Mountain National Park. And lastly it is imperative that we can work with nearby jurisdictions and our CD to mitigate the impacts of wild fires and other natural disasters.

Chandra Wilkins

Commission: congressional

Zip: 80917

Submittted: April 12, 2021

Comment:

I was disappointed to hear that public would not be able to hear from the lawyers being interviewed. I believe that the public has a right to see the interviews and read their applications. If they are applying for something public, then they should understand that their answers should be public also.

Bennett Rutledge

Commission: both

Zip: 00000

Submittted: April 12, 2021

Comment:

Gentlefolk, I have a suggestion that may help get around the plight the Census Bureau's data release schedule has put our Redistricting Commissions into. If the Legislature can be persuaded to do an emergency repeal of the one-district-per-seat rule, or the Colorado courts to overturn that rule, we will be able to use data from Census Bureau releases much earlier that the final September 30th release date for the block-by-block census figures needed to do the redistricting as originally envisioned: 1.Worst case - National and State population figures only. A single district, with all candidates running at-large, cannot be challenged under any of the detailed requirements for districts, especially that such a district must have within 5% of the same population, and the same racial, interest, etc. profile as any district in Colorado, since there would be only the one district on the list. (The mathematical principle to prove it, as taught in High School, is called the Reflexive Property of Equality!) 2.Middle case - County and Municipality population figures available, This would take considerably more work to meet the population, racial, interest, etc. requirements. 3.Nearest case - Zipcode population figures available. This would add more flexibility and could make meeting the population, racial, interest, etc. requirements do-able if case 2 did not. According to Schedule (census.gov)the figures needed for case 1 will be available May 4, 2021 and for case 2 on June 17, 2021. These will be the July 1, 2020 components, where April 1, 2020 was the Census Day. My personal feeling is that even putting up with case 1, until we can do the redistricting as specified in Y and Z, would be preferable to abandoning all the work we have put into having Independent Redistricting Commissions. Thank you for being willing to get in the middle of this.

Ann Marie Damian

Commission: both

Zip: 80498

Submittted: April 12, 2021

Comment:

Dear Colorado Congressional and Legislative Redistricting Commissions, Hello, my name is Ann Marie Damian and my zip code is 80498. Below you will find my public comment submission to Colorado’s Congressional and Legislative Redistricting Commissions. I live in Heeney, a very small town that is frequently ignored by local govt. I understand my public comment will inform the creation of preliminary congressional and state legislative maps. Therefore, I wanted to share a bit about my community and the shared interests that unite it, my community’s public policy concerns, the geographic area of my community, and features that are important to my community. First, while there are many interests that unite my community, the single greatest shared interest among my community is being listened to by our elected officials nd not being dictated to by unelected and biased staff members who do not have Heeney's best interests in mind. Secondly, a major public policy concern of my community is public safety because we are 40 minutes away from emergency services. No plowing pouts us at risk for both fires nd medical emergencies, especially in the winter. Lastly, the geographic boundaries of my community of interest are north of Silverthorne by one-half hour, south of Grand County but still a part of Summit County, although many staff in the county ignore us because we are too few votes to care about. This needs to change immediately!! I believe the next district lines should be drawn in a manner that adequately reflects and fairly represents my community’s interests. Thank you for taking the time to read my public comment.

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