Letter: Rural representation
It’s official. Routt County has been cut off from the Western Slope in redistricting.
In our local redistricting meeting, as well as in the online comments, the Routt County Democrats asked for us to be split from the Western Slope. Some, like Tim Corrigan, asked for us to be split from areas that rely on jobs in the fossil fuel industry. Corrigan is supposedly a representative for South Routt and our local coal miners. But he knows that he must cater more to Steamboat voters in order to be elected. This may be why he rarely answers his emails from South Routt constituents who have concerns. He knows he doesn’t need them politically.
Now, we are in a district with Boulder, supposedly sharing commonality with them because we also have unaffordable housing. Is it a coincidence that banding together the groups with a high cost of living makes this a very blue district? Maybe. But if you want to know how Leftist policies affect housing prices, look no further than California. The bluer they get, the more the low-income and middle class suffer. Homelessness increases, too. It may be a coincidence that our now-very-blue-district shares skyrocketing housing costs, but even if it is, I’m not sure the current leadership has the knowledge to fix it. They seem to want to increase regulation and taxes at every turn.
Ranchers also showed up in high numbers to the redistricting meeting, to remind the commission that they are not as visible, not as popular, not as advertised, but they are here. And they matter. They felt that we do not share commonality with the Front Range. Boulder voted for wolf reintroduction, while Routt County did not. The cities on the Front Range compete for our water, and our population is much smaller. We’ve got cowboy, and they’ve got metro.
But the rural folk, nearly half the county, lost their bid for equal representation. Instead of being grouped with those who live a similar lifestyle, their votes will be swamped. It’s happening in Routt County on a micro level, with the city of Steamboat Springs (51% of the votes) overruling the rest of the county (49%) by a very small margin. And now it will happen at a state level, too. Hopefully, Steamboat will not be overlooked, like South Routt is, by representatives looking for quick votes from big cities.
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