Public Comments

Redistricting is our once-a-decade chance to redraw the lines that define the districts from which county commissioners are elected. It's also a way to accurately reflect population changes, racial diversity, communities of interest, and provide an equal voice to all residents. Community members provided input to assist the Clerk and Board of County Commissioners in drawing the best and fairest districts for Jeffco.

During June 2023, community members submitted over a dozen map ideas, 15 individuals submitted public comments, and one person testified at the Board of County Commissioners public hearing. Below are the written comments submitted during this public input process.

  1. Community Priorities
  2. Community Information
  3. Other Feedback

What is most important to you for the Commissioners to consider when approving the final district map?

"At least one rural district, NO PARTISANSHIP, districts based upon rational geography" --Catherine G

"Diversity" --Deanna D

"I support your philosophy of diverse representation. Though I live in a suburban area, I think rural areas need a voice." --Renee F

"Rural populations need a Commissioner to serve with their voice. Lumping rural areas with urban areas are unfair and negate the rural vote because the urban areas have a higher population. I believe the Rural-ish/Urban Divides Map (186495) is the best way to provide an equal voice to all residents." --David G

"Continuity of Intersts" --Joan P

"As close to equal number of residents per district as possible, as well as square miles per district, understanding that south and west Jeffco are sparsely populated and will have more area to cover. This allows the representatives to be more effective and to have all districts represented as fairly as possible." --John F

"Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on Jeffco County Commissioner Redistricting. I have drawn a proposed map and here present my reasons for favoring it. Overall, absent any compelling reasons for dramatic changes to existing districts, I argue for balancing populations across the three districts in a way that respects past districts, and to do so with the “smoothest” boundaries possible, because smooth boundaries reduce higgledy-piggledy neighborhood carve-ups, to the extent precincts allow. In addition, I present my reservations with two common proposals about redistricting. Since the late 1960s I have lived in Conifer, Golden, central Lakewood, north Lakewood, north Arvada, and Littleton, and my children and grandchildren also attended schools in Wheat Ridge and Westminster. These experiences aided my decisions in my proposed districts. My proposed map meets or exceeds all Redistricting Guidelines. Districts are compact (and similar in areal extent, which improves constituent access), contiguous, have nearly equal population with less than 5% population variation (actual is 0.22%), and as I argue below preserve several important communities of interest. Overall, medical services (northern adjacent to Lutheran, middle has Lutheran and St Anthony, with Swedish SW in southern), fire protection, and water distribution are mostly kept whole.

1) Why east-west districts? East-west districts follow historic travel routes that shaped what came with human habitation. Roads and city boundaries primarily follow the land, its creeks, and important geologic barriers like the Dakota Hogback, Table Mountains, and the steep face of the Front Range. Districts that respect how travel routes have always influenced development begin the work of taking communities of interest into account. Commissioners who are each similarly knowledgeable about diverse ways of life in Jeffco and who are evenly accessible to their constituents, seem the most likely to produce balanced solutions to complex county-wide dilemmas. Representing geographically and demographically diverse districts brings commissioners who must on a regular basis struggle with the complex issues facing those with different climate zones, infrastructure needs, cities, fire-protection districts, and water-distribution districts. Taking diversity seriously requires each commissioner to engage with constituents and find middle ground to serve the interests of all constituents.

  • The northern district contains several common concerns: Rocky Flats, the proposed Jeffco Parkway route, traffic bottlenecks on Simms, Indiana, McIntyre, and CO-93, while understanding our “insider” travel patterns for mountain access that interconnect 84th/86th/CO-72, 80th, 64th, I-70 Sheridan, Kipling, Wadsworth, CO-58, and US-6/40.
  • In the central and southern districts, Golden, Wheat Ridge, and northern/central Lakewood share similar development cycles. Having lived in this proposed middle district, and understanding the travel patterns of these residents, it makes sense to me to keep them together.
  • Southern Lakewood and Littleton came later. Having lived in Conifer and Littleton, especially having commuted via Deer Creek and Turkey Creek Canyons to US-285, I know that US-285 and I-470 to I-70 are the main corridors for travel into the Mountains. In addition, this district coalesces mountain communities south of I-70 and provides them access to one commissioner.

2) Why not rural vs urban or mountain vs suburban divisions? Though it is not a requirement, it seems to me that having a similar areal size for each district increases the opportunities for constituents to engage with one’s Commissioner and to attend the kinds of meetings and events that give democratic participation meaning. And seeing the perspectives of others from dissimilar circumstances improves the extent to which constituents understand the needs of others in the County. Such discussions help move past self-centered solutions to complex and often under-funded strategies for best meeting the needs of everyone in the county. Some have, in arguing for this sort of division, highlighted the different wildfire needs of those in the mountain communities. But, sadly, after the enormous losses from the Marshall fire, this is no longer a salient argument. Because of the interconnections between the foothills and the west-side housing developments, and the creek beds through the prairie that so effectively channeled wildfire long distances into suburban developments, our approach to fire mitigation needs are now greater, and more complex, that it seemed when we talked solely in terms of “fires in forests.” One can argue that extreme winds in the mountain-to-prairie transition zone across Jeffco create unique wildfire potential for which we need abatement protocols and mitigation. Thus, I argue that Commissioners must understand complex east-west interconnections central to Jeffco, not parse Commissioners into experts on the mountains versus experts in the suburbs. In addition, rural/city or mountain/suburb districts privilege one set of communities of interest over others, eschewing those related to fire protection, city boundaries, and other services institutions.

3) Why not a district that focuses on BIPOC communities? First, this privileges one sort of community of interest without accommodating any others. Second, the usual (voting rights) argument for such a district revolves around the lack of a possibility of electing someone from a particular racial/ethnic community. But this has not been the case historically in Jeffco. As recently as 2016, Jeffco elected a Latina to the County Commission, in a county where in 2020 the five largest ethnic groups are white (non-Hispanic) (77.7%), white (Hispanic) (10.7%), Asian (non-Hispanic) (2.76%), two-or-more (non-Hispanic) (2.4%), and two-or-more (Hispanic) (2.35%). Third, while racial and ethnic representation is important, democratic participation alongside other communities may be even more crucial to making the needs of members of these communities apparent to those who come from different circumstances. Creating a BIPOC district may have the unintended consequence of isolating (segregating) them from decision-making processes where their needs and interests can be taken seriously by others in Jeffco." --Karen T

"Working with citizens and officials to ensure everyone is represented" --Tim B

"The western, mountain/rural area, should be a single district." --Sarah L

"The most important topic for me is the distinction between urban and rural areas within the county. Each community experiences their own unique set of needs and often times the residents of these communities have different ideas of what is important, which can often times leave a community without proper resources. The geography itself makes for complications that should be addressed on a local level - for example when mountain neighborhoods experience a significant amount of snow compared to the power elevation neighborhoods and it would make sense to cancel/delay schools in one area and not another." --Kammy D

"The fact that the needs of the folks in the foothills are VERY different from the needs of the folks in the city and need to be represented indivdually." --Bart S

"I live on the edge of Jeffco. Our needs are similar to Park county. We don't have the same needs as Golden or even Conifer. The lines should be more vertical than horizontal." --Tea C

"Rural district represented fairly" --Pam F

"We need 5 commissioners with districts divided such that there is an "in town" and a "mountain rural" commissioner. The views of the rural mountain residents are not well represented in the current map." --Trint L