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Denver's city council discusses eliminating at-large seats

denver city county building city council.png
Posted at 10:15 AM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 12:15:26-04

DENVER — Denver’s City Council is discussing a proposal that would eliminate the city’s at-large seats.

Denver City Council Representative’s Robin Kneich and Debbie Ortega currently hold the positions, but their terms end in 2023 and neither can run for re-election due to term limits.

If the at-large seats were eliminated, two new districts would be created.

District 9 City Council Representative Candi CdeBaca said this presents the city with a unique opportunity.

“What we’re trying to do with Denver’s population growth is shrink our district a little bit and increase people’s representation, specifically access to their council member. The size of the districts have just become quite untenable,” she said. “We think that this conversion of at-large seats would give our citizens of the city better representation on city council.”

CdeBaca said the at-large seats were created toward the end of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement as a way to limit representation for people of color. CdeBaca said since the seats were created, only two people of color have served in those positions.

“This should not be a unilateral decision that council is making. What council should be doing is just offering it to the voters. Because out in the community, I’ve heard a lot of support for this idea among the people,” CdeBaca said.

Both Kneich and Ortega have spoken out against this proposal.

They said it would take representation away from the majority of Denver voters.

Next, city council will hold a public comment session.

It is unclear if the measure has enough support to make it onto the November ballot.