Colorado House Rep. Randy Baumgardner has leased ranchland in Jackson County, which qualifies him to run again for representative of State House District 57 pending the court's approval of the final state redistricting map.
Baumgardner said the decision to lease land in Cowdrey was not one based on his future prospects as a state congressman, but one solely based on agriculture.
"The opportunity presented itself to lease a piece of property up there where I can graze more cattle," Baumgardner said.
Baumgardner has leased the Chimney Rock Ranch between Hot Sulphur Springs and Granby since 1996, but pointed to the possibility of mounting regulation by federal agencies to prevent cattle grazing near certain drainages in an effort to limit impacts to fish and riparian habitat.
"It was a good business opportunity and I took it," Baumgardner said of the decision to move cattle to Jackson.
Baumgardner, who has a son in Grand County schools, will continue to lease the Hot Sulphur ranch. The family will share time between the two homes, he said.
Baumgardner said he is "absolutely" seeking a third term in office next year.
Grand County was taken out of House District 57 in the decennial redistricting process, joining instead new House District 26 with Summit and Eagle counties.
House District 57 includes Jackson, Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco, and parts of Garfield and Mesa counties.
Although Baumgardner was pleased with the final decision to keep Grand County on the West Slope, a testament to the "hard work" of the people of Grand County, he said he would have liked to see Grand County remain in District 57.
"I was very disappointed the reapportionment committee did not see fit to leave Grand County with District 57."
Grand County shares "a community of interest with the rest of the district," he said.
All arguments and evidence on the redistricting should be submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court by Nov. 9, and if approved by the court, the plan will be filed with the Secretary of State in December, according to the state's website. A final order may be issued sometime in February.
- Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603