Final six members of Colorado’s new congressional redistricting commission selected

By: - March 1, 2021 4:12 pm

Colorado’s congressional districts as of 2021. The boundaries were last drawn in 2011. (Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions, screenshot)

The final members of Colorado’s new independent congressional redistricting commission — tasked with redrawing the state’s map of congressional districts using updated population data — were selected on Monday by a panel of retired judges.

The newly selected members are: Simon Tafoya (D), Martha Coleman (D), Jason Kelly (R), JulieMarie Shepherd (R), Carly Dawn Hare (U), and Moussa Mariam Diawara (U).

The final commissioners were selected by a panel of three retired Colorado judges — Daniel Taubman, Robert Hawthorne and Alan Loeb. The judges were given a list of 80 names from Republican and Democratic legislative leaders in Colorado’s House and Senate. The judges then selected four eligible applicants from both parties, and four unaffiliated voters from the original pool of applicants. 

The entire process remains in limbo because Colorado won’t be receiving the census data necessary for redistricting until Sept. 30 — six months past the usual release date and weeks after Colorado’s new maps are due to the state’s Supreme Court. 

State lawmakers could introduce a bill that would essentially ask the Colorado Supreme Court for its blessing in blowing past the constitutional deadlines, but it’s unclear if this is the route that lawmakers will take.

In 2018, Coloradans voted to implement two amendments — Y and Z — that created two independent redistricting commissions to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative maps with an eye towards fairness and minimizing the potential for gerrymandering. Under the Colorado law, the congressional redistricting commission is supposed to have a map complete by Sept. 1, and the legislative map is due on Sept. 15.

The newly selected members of the congressional redistricting commission bring diverse perspectives to the decision-making process. The commission now is comprised of seven women and five men. Of the 12 commissioners, seven people come from a wide array of racial and ethnic backgrounds, and two members of the commission live outside the Front Range. 

“The panel has fulfilled its constitutional obligation to select a panel that reflects Colorado’s racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity,” Loeb said in a written statement. “We feel we have selected a strong commission, and we wish them the best in their redistricting efforts.”

The legislative redistricting commission is significantly less diverse. Five out of the six members currently on the legislative redistricting commission are white and five of them are men. One member, John Buckley III, a corporate lawyer based in Colorado Springs, responded in his application that he identifies as “some other race.” He did not respond to a media request for more information. There is only one woman on the commission and one member lives outside of the Front Range. 

The final six members of the legislative redistributing commission will be selected on March 16.

Current members of Colorado’s two independent redistricting commissions

Congressional (final)

Democrat: Paula Espinoza, of Roxborough Park
Democrat: Elizabeth Wilkes, of Colorado Springs
Democrat: Simon Tafoya, of Denver
Democrat: Martha Coleman, of Fort Collins
Republican: Danny D. Moore, of Centennial
Republican: William J. Leone, of Westminster
Republican: Jason Kelly, of Alamosa
Republican: JulieMarie Shepherd, of Aurora
Unaffiliated: Jolie C. Brawner, of Denver
Unaffiliated: Lori Smith Schell, of Durango
Unaffiliated: Carly Dawn Hare, of Longmont
Unaffiliated: Moussa Mariam Diawara, of Colorado Springs


Democrat: Gary Horvath, of Broomfield
Democrat: Robin Schepper, of Steamboat Springs
Republican: John Barnett, of Denver
Republican: John Buckley III, of Colorado Springs
Unaffiliated: Kevin Fletcher, of Golden
Unaffiliated: Samuel Greenidge, of Longmont

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Moe Clark
Moe Clark

Moe Clark is a freelance journalist and former Colorado Newsline reporter who covered criminal justice, housing, homelessness and other social issues.