Colorado is divided into seven Congressional districts according to population, with each district represented by an elected member of the United States House of Representatives. Colorado representatives serve two-year terms, as required by the US Constitution. There are no term limits for members of Congress. Colorado’s longest-serving representative is currently Democrat Diana DeGette, who has served since 1997.
Colorado’s First Congressional District encompasses the city of Denver. The Second District covers northern Colorado, including Fort Collins, Grand County, Boulder, and Summit County. The Third District encompasses all of western Colorado, the San Luis Valley, and Pueblo County. The Fourth District includes all of the Great Plains and southeast Colorado. The Fifth District includes Colorado Springs, South Park, and Cripple Creek. The Sixth and Seventh Districts cover the rest of the Denver Metro area, including Aurora and Littleton (Sixth), and Golden, Arvada, and Westminster (Seventh).
First District—Diana DeGette (D), elected 1996
Second District—Joe Neguse (D), elected 2018
Third District—Scott Tipton (R), elected 2010
Fourth District—Ken Buck (R), elected 2014
Fifth District—Doug Lamborn (R), elected 2006
Sixth District—Jason Crow (D), elected 2018
Seventh District—Ed Perlmutter (D), elected 2006
From its founding in 1861 until statehood in 1876, the Colorado Territory was represented in Washington, DC, by one delegate, elected by popular vote. After statehood, the delegate became a representative, and the number of representatives depended on state population, as laid out in the US Constitution. From 1913 to 1915, the state had two representatives. Since then Colorado has added more districts as its population has grown, reaching its current total of seven in 2012.
Colorado’s first territorial delegate was Hiram P. Bennet, Republican, who served from 1861 to 1865. The first US representative for the state of Colorado was James B. Belford, Republican, who served from 1876 to 1877 and again from 1879 to 1885.
In the twentieth century, a pair of Democratic representatives helped protect Colorado’s public lands and water resources. Edward T. Taylor, who served from 1909 to 1941, authored the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, which regulated grazing on federal land. Taylor’s successor, Wayne Aspinall, represented Colorado’s Fourth District from 1949 to 1973 and is known for his irrigation projects and defense of water rights on the Western Slope. Aspinall championed the Colorado River Storage Project of 1956.
Patricia Schroeder became the first congresswoman in Colorado history when she was elected as a Democrat to represent the state’s First District in 1973. Her successor, Diana DeGette, has continued Schroeder’s advocacy for women’s and reproductive rights, among other progressive causes. Meanwhile, Greeley native Marilyn Musgrave was the first Republican woman elected to Congress in Colorado, representing the state’s Fourth District from 2003 to 2009. Musgrave staunchly opposed abortion, gun control, and unions and was consistently recognized as one of the most conservative members of Congress.
Elected to represent Colorado’s Third District in 1986, Ben Nighthorse Campbell was the first member of the Cheyenne Tribe to serve in Congress. Campbell began his political career as a House Democrat but switched to the Republican Party after he was elected to the Senate in the early 1990s.
Current governor Jared Polis, Democrat, represented Colorado’s Second District from 2009 to 2019. His successor in the Second District, Joe Neguse, Democrat, became Colorado’s first African American elected to the House of Representatives.