For voters in the new 8th Congressional District, the issues are wide and varied

· Apr. 18, 2022, 4:00 am

The latest round of redistricting means Colorado has a new congressional district in the north metro area, from Thornton all the way up to Greeley. It includes parts of Adams, Larimer and Weld counties.

This district is also set to be one of the most competitive in the country, with 44% of voters registered as unaffiliated. Colorado Matters recently visited the new district to find out what voters are watching this election year. This is what they had to say.

Brian Ruiz, Thornton

Bryan Ruiz, of Thornton, talks about the new 8th Congressional District map at Anythink Library in Thornton on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

For Brian Ruiz, he wants politicians to focus on environmental issues. He works with conservation groups, and climate change is top of mind for him.

“I honestly feel like environmental issues are never addressed as much as I want them to be,” he said. “Even when it’s said that they’re going to be addressed, I don’t think that they often are, and they’re pushed back by other concerns that are said to be more immediate. But if there are always going to be non-immediate concerns, then they’re never going to get addressed.”

Matthew Barazza, Greeley

Matthew Barraza, of Greeley, talks about the new 8th Congressional District map at 477 Distilling in Greeley on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

Matthew Barazza considers himself politically moderate—but he’s also still a relatively new voter.

He believes in marriage equality and letting people have bodily autonomy, but he’s also concerned about the economy.

Barazza hasn’t voted before, but he wants to change that.

“I actually am trying to start voting in the next small election,” he said. “Because I’m learning with the new COVID stuff how important small elections are. These people are actually able to control a lot of what happens in our lives. And I want to be able to contribute to that.”

Marsha Marcilla, Thornton

Marsha Marcilla works at Anythink Library in Thornton. The considers herself conservative and is paying attention to education issues. Carla Jimenez/CPR News.

Marsha Marcilla got the notification that she was in a new congressional district, but she wasn’t quite sure what it meant.

Marcilla considers herself a conservative, in one of the most competitive new districts in the country. She has a lot of important issues, but education is top of mind.

“My daughter is a teacher,” she said. “So I think education is one of those that ranks high as far as being in this community. So I think we need to get a grip on that.”

Meredith Guarco, Henderson

Meredith Guarco, of Thornton, holds her 6-month-old daughter as she talks about the new 8th Congressional District map at Anythink Library in Thornton on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

Meredith Guarco lives in a fast-growing area of the state, but still not many people have heard of her town, Henderson. 

She identifies as a Democrat, and the issues she cares most about are social ones, like women’s rights. In spite of this, she still shies away from talk about politics.

“I think just in the last couple of years, things have become pretty divided to the point where we can even be embarrassed about our political affiliation, just to avoid conflict with other folks,” she said. “When people ask me what my political preferences are or background, I hesitate, because I’m wondering if this is going to ignite some difficult conversations that I’m not ready to have.”

Matt Estrin, Greeley

Matt Estrin is the owner of 477 Distillery in downtown Greeley. His business has faced some steep price increases due to inflation and supply chain issues, which he is following closely in the elections. Carla Jimenez/CPR News.

Matt Estrin is the owner of the 477 Distillery in downtown Greeley, which commemorates an important election in the history of his town—it’s named for the number of votes it took to overturn the Prohibition laws.

For Estrin, he likes to keep his political cards close to his vest, but he also pays attention. His business has been affected by current events. The supply chain issues and inflation has been a strain on him.

“We’ve seen some major increases in price over the last two or three years, really in the last year or so significantly,” he said. “And so for us, that’s a big deal for me. We don’t like to pass that cost on to the customer as much as we don’t have to, but it gets to a point where we’re going to have to.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the 8th Congressional District includes parts of Adams, Weld and Larimer counties, not Douglas.

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