Political map tour to redraw congressional districts comes to Englewood

City could move to new congressional district, be split under new state Senate district

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Some south-metro residents argued against splitting Englewood into two state Senate districts — and asked not to separate part of Englewood from Sheridan — during an open meeting where members of the public commented on a proposed redrawing of districts for U.S. Congress and state legislature seats.

“We share roads, we share a railway, our police forces work together,” said Sally Daigle, mayor pro tem of Sheridan, at the July 21 meeting. She added: “I think it's important that you keep Sheridan and Englewood in the same district.”

The conversation is part of a once-in-a-decade redistricting process for congressional districts — including the drawing of Colorado's new 8th Congressional District. Colorado gained a seat for an eighth representative in the U.S. House because of population growth.

Colorado is also in the process of redrawing its state legislative districts, which are represented by state senators and state representatives.

The meeting in Englewood came as the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions — groups of volunteers who applied to oversee the redrawing process — hold public hearings around the state in July and August.

Each commission — legislative and congressional — is composed of four Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated voters.

Here's how districts in the Englewood area could change and what local residents told the commission during the Englewood meeting, held at Malley Recreation Center.

Current districts

Some basics on the existing districts that include Englewood and how they could change:

• State House District 3 covers Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village and parts of northern Littleton.

• It's currently represented by Meg Froelich, a Democrat who lives in Englewood. The proposed state House map would rearrange district borders in the area but appears to avoid splitting Englewood among different districts. Colorado has 35 state Senate districts and 65 state House districts.

• State Senate District 26 covers Littleton, Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village, the Columbine Valley area and parts of Aurora.

• It's represented by state Sen. Jeff Bridges, a Democrat of Greenwood Village. The redrawing of state Senate districts could split Englewood roughly in two, with the city's south and northwest parts in a district that includes Sheridan, and Englewood's north and northeast portions tied in with areas farther east.

• U.S. Congressional District 1 in Colorado includes Denver, Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Bow Mar, and unincorporated areas of Jefferson County, including Columbine and Ken Caryl.

• It's represented by longtime Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat of Denver. The proposed map could slice the south and southwest portions off of CD1 and place Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village and part of Bow Mar in Congressional District 6, an area that includes Aurora and other Arapahoe County suburbs.

That change would put the Englewood area in a more competitive district: It's one that would be less overwhelmingly Democratic compared to CD1, but it's still currently represented by Rep. Jason Crow, an Aurora Democrat.

What commenters said

Among the criteria that a new map must try to follow is that districts should preserve whole “communities of interest” and whole political subdivisions, such as counties, cities and towns.

Districts must have roughly equal populations, which is part of what makes it difficult to avoid splitting cities and counties.

Kyle Schlachter, a former Littleton city councilmember, cited the standard that when states draw their maps, they should preserve communities and whole cities. He noted that in the proposed state House map, Littleton would be divided, and he pointed to Englewood's possible split in the proposed state Senate map.

Daigle, the mayor pro tem of Sheridan who also serves on the Sheridan school board, spoke in support of keeping Englewood and Sheridan represented together in the state legislature because of their similar youth populations.

“We share the prestige of having some of the lowest-income based students in the metro area. Sheridan has over 80% of our students on free and reduced lunch … Splitting our district and splitting Englewood, I don't believe it would be the best interest for our students,” Daigle said.

She called the two municipalities “sister cities” and said they “swap students back and forth” — some Sheridan students attend Englewood classes because schools don't offer them in Sheridan, Daigle said.

A commenter named Gabrielle Mueller, who said she's a Colorado native, told the commission she “just thinks it's really important to keep these cities whole.”

“I think it was really awesome to have a (state) senator representing Englewood as a whole,” she said.

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