Surprise! Gardner Says He’s Undecided on “Skinny Repeal”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Asked by KHOW radio-host Ross Kaminsky today if there were “something that might come up” in the U.S. Senate” that would make him vote against healthcare reform, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) delivered a strange answer: the “single-payer plan.”

Kaminsky: So would you personally vote for almost anything just to get the process to go forward and get to a conference committee and try to get something going? Or is there something that might come up in the senate that you wouldn’t vote for on healthcare reform?

Gardner: Well, today, for instance, there is going to be a proposal that the Democrats have put forward in the House of Representatives and, I think has significant support in the Senate as well, from some Democrats. I believe it has 112 cosponsors even in the House of Representatives. It’s the single-payer plan. It’s the universal coverage, the socialized-medicine plan, that has been put forward in the House with 112 Democratic cosponsors. There is going to be a vote on that today.

Kaminsky: Wow.

Gardner: And Bernie Sanders and many others support it.

Gardner’s answer seemed to shock even the conservative Kaminsky, who responded with:

Kaminsky: I didn’t mean that kind of thing, Cory. I meant a Republican idea. Would you vote for any Republican idea simply to move the ball down the field?

This prompted Gardner to launch into the usual vagaries that have been frustrating reporters and constituents alike in recent months.

Gardner: No. Look, I think what I am going to vote for is what I believe can best represent what think is a Colorado concern and value, and that is this: We need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. So what I vote for is going to be what I judge to be something…

Before spotlighting a single-payer bill as something he’d vote against, Gardner declined to tell Kaminsky if he planned to vote for the so-called “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill, which would, among other things, kill the mandate that individuals must buy health insurance. Congressional analysts estimate that the skinny repeal would cause 16 million people will lose insurance coverage, and premiums will go up by 20 percent.

Gardner: “What I have got to see is, what [the skinny repeal] is going to contain, what it means, and how it is best positioning us for the repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act,” Gardner told Kaminsky on air.

At the beginning of the interview, Gardner told Kaminsky once again that he wants to replace Obamacare with “something that will work to increase the quality of care, decrease the cost of care.”

But none of the Republican proposals so far would do this, including the two proposals Gardner voted for yesterday.

Listen here to Gardner on KHOW 630-AM’s Ross Kaminsky Show July 27:

Why won’t Gardner have a serious conversation about what he’s doing in Washington?

If you’re a reporter, what to do with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)?

Assuming he gives you an interview (it took 9News weeks to get one), you’re facing a politician who’s apparently committed to not discussing any of the details of the GOP’s landmark Obamacare replacement bill. He won’t say what he likes, what he doesn’t like, or how he’d vote. Even if he’s voted on the exact same Obama-care repeal bill previously.

Today, 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman boiled it down to a simple, “Are there any deal breakers? Are there things you do not want to see in any legislation?”

And Gardner dodged.

Rittaman followed up with a specific example of what could be a deal breaker: “What about the people on expanded Medicaid in Colorado, because a lot of new people got coverage that way. Is it important that they can keep the coverage they got under Obamacare?”

And Gardner dodged.

Rittiman asked Gardner if he’ll hold “any sort of town-hall meeting” during the August recess.

And Gardner dodged.

So what do you do with Gardner?

How about something like, “Hey, let’s stop playing this game, Sen. Gardner. It’s clear you won’t talk about specific elements that you favor or oppose in the healthcare bill. Why?

“Why do you have nothing to say about the substance of the bill or any parts of it? Do you think serious questions will hurt your negotiating position? Anger your constituents or Republican donors?

“Why won’t you have a serious conversation about what you’re doing in Washington?”

Former GOP official: suggestion to “disembowel” columnist was “figurative”

(How do you ‘figuratively’ disembowel someone, anyway? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Roesener littwin 7-2017A prominent Garfield County Republican told me that he was being “figurative” when he wrote on Facebook this week that “someone should disembowel” Mike Littwin, a columnist for the Colorado Independent, a progressive news outlet.

“You Mike Littwin, are such a nefarious, full of mendacity individual, someone should disembowel you on the stairs of the State capitol,” wrote Ron Roesener, who gave up his position of GOP Garfield County Chair this year.

“Well, it was figurative,” he told me when asked about the Facebook post, which was obtained from a source. “I am not going to come down there with my gun and shoot him. Don’t worry.”

That’s good news, and I believe him.

Roesener, who ran for state house in 2012, went on to toss out more commonly heard verbal assaults, calling Littwin a “spineless person.” He alleged that Littwin refused an invitation to come to Garfield County to debate a local Republican. Roesener called Littwin a “1960’s hippie” who should get a “promotion to CNN.”

I asked Littwin via email if he’s getting more extreme or threatening messages lately.

“There is more anger generally at the media today than any time I’ve seen, but that was growing, as I don’t have to tell you, long before Trump’s phony-baloney war on the press,” he wrote. “In most cases today, despite the occasional call for ‘figurative’ disemboweling, and despite congressmen who body-slam reporters, and despite presidents who accuse journalists of being enemies of the people, most of the angry mail I get is to accuse me of creating fake news and most of the nasty stuff I get on Facebook, at least when I post my Colorado Independent columns, is from a small group of trollers. I figure, at least they’re reading.”

As you’d expect to hear from a great writer who’s been at it for more than 30 years, Littwin has seen worse missives than Roesener’s.

“When I worked at the LA Times, at a time I wasn’t yet a full-time columnist, this one guy would write me long unsigned letters blasting every piece I wrote. When I left to become a columnist at the Baltimore Sun, I got a hand-delivered letter in Baltimore from this guy the day after my first column ran at the Sun. It was pretty creepy. But I never heard from the guy again. Such is the life of a columnist. I used to get a lot of really disgusting, anti-Semitic mail, just foul Nazi-style, skinhead stuff. When I wrote a part-time column for the Virginian-Pilot in my youth, I’d get a lot of what I called long-haired, n-loving, commie, pinko mail. I got a lot of that in Baltimore, too. Before anonymous email, you’d get anonymous snail mail, with pretty laughable (I hoped) threats to kill me or worse.”

You want to laugh when someone threatens you, but, as Littwin says, all you can do is hope.  I wish everyone would read about the horrible deaths and torture of reporters across the globe (46 died last year), from Mexico to Afghanistan to Turkey.

(more…)

Buck: Russia-Trump collusion investigation has “no substance”

(Drain the swamp, comrade! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The last time U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) compared the Russia investigation with the conspiracy around Obama’s birth certificate, Buck left open the possibility that evidence of Trump colluding with Russia may still emerge.

Buck stated in May that he hoped Trump would be cleared, adding: “I also think that politically, people are going to be raising this issue just like people raised the birth certificate or other issues on President Obama that I didn’t think were credible but that some people did. And they kept gnawing at it.”

Buck’s comment led Colorado Politics’ Dan Njegomir to offer this interpretation:

Njegomir: What Buck also seemed to be saying is that the Russia allegations — whether they ultimately prove true, are somehow debunked or remain inconclusive — have assumed a life of their own. They have become a mantra of the left much as the former president’s country of origin assumed mythic proportion for the birthers on the right.

In his latest comment on the topic, on KVOR on Saturday, Buck completely dismissed the Russia investigation, making Njegomir’s charitable interpretation hard to defend.

Buck said the investigation has “no substance” and “diverts attention from the real issues that we need to address.”

Here you go:

HOST JEFF CRANK: Let me ask — on the Russia issue — you alluded to it. I’ve talked about it here. I think it is just the grand diversion of the left. And when I say the left, it’s the Democrats and it’s the media who doesn’t like Donald Trump. There’s not been a shred of evidence that there is collusion. But we’re talking about Russia constantly. Your thoughts on that?

U.S. REP. KEN BUCK: Well, I think that’s right. I was a prosecutor–as you know, Jeff – for 25 years. And I go to the town hall meetings and people keep on bringing up Russia. To me it is the equivalent of the far right conspiracy theory about Pres. Obama’s birth certificate. I think it has no substance. I think it diverts attention from the real issues that we need to address. And we are going to regret in 10-15 years — when we go off the fiscal cliff, when we can’t afford to do the things they we’re doing right now, when we can’t borrow money to keep our government going in this artificial way – we’re going to regret the fact that we didn’t spend time and focus as a country on the important issues and problems that we have.

Listen here:

Is Gardner divulging his healthcare stance in his private meetings?

In public venues and sporadic interviews with reporters, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) still isn’t saying publicly how he’ll vote on legislation repealing Obamacare–or even what amendments or elements of a bill he favors.

Is he offering more insight into his thinking at private meetings?

In one such meeting, at the Pioneers Medical Center in Meeker July 6, Gardner didn’t offer his opinion but, instead, listened.

“It was more like a listening tour,” said Margie Joy, the Director of Business Development at Pioneers Medical Center, who said she attended the meeting.

“We did explain that Medicaid cuts would be very harmful to the rural community. That is a big concern,” she said.

In a newsletter article, Gardner characterized his meeting at Pioneers in Meeker differently, describing it as an opportunity to “discuss challenges rural hospitals are facing under the Affordable Care Act.”

Another private meeting occurred with Blue Cross Blue Shield “executives,” including one from Blue Cross Blue Shield, who told Gardner the repeal-and-replace legislation would help reduce costs and stabilize the insurance market, according to Gardner. Data from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation contradicts this.

Did Gardner tell the insurance executives his stance on the healthcare bills? A call asking this question wasn’t returned.

Richard Monger, a Democratic Routt County Commissioner, declined to offer details about his private conversation with Gardner about healthcare earlier this month.

One powerful Republican fundraiser in Colorado, Guy Short, indicated Gardner would vote for a final GOP healthcare bill, if there is one, no matter what’s in it.

“In the end Colorado conservatives know that Cory Gardner is going to vote to repeal Obamacare and when there is a final bill Cory Gardner is going to be there,” Short told The Denver Post July 8.

Short did not return a phone message seeking to know how Short knows this. Did Gardner assure him privately that he’ll vote for the final bill?

 

Former state representative will consider removing fake news from her Facebook page

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

marsha looper posts fake news about muslim rape 7-17Former state Rep. Marsha Looper (R-Calhan) shared a fake news item on her Facebook page recently, with flat-out falsehoods and exaggerations about a rape that did not occur, as alleged, in Idaho

The Idaho Statesman reported:

The incident touched off months of turmoil in Twin Falls after the story was spun into a fake news account that exaggerated or flat-out falsified many of the details, including that a knife was present, the attack was perpetrated by a Syrian gang of adult men, that a rape had occurred and that the attack was celebrated by the perpetrators’ families as city officials orchestrated a cover-up.

Snopes also determined the item to be “mostly false.

See Looper’s post, from “SilenceIsConsent.net,” above.

Looper, who left office in 2012, told me today that she’d review the fact checks of the item and, if she agrees, remove it from her Facebook page.

Gardner has yet to answer his own questions about repealing Obamacare

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is now undecided on whether he’d support GOP legislation to repeal Obamacare without replacing it first, but he thinks the U.S. Senate should vote on an Obamacare measure, even if it’s likely to fail.

“I don’t think I’m going to speculate on [a straight repeal bill], because I don’t know that’s what would come up and I don’t want to say that I’m going to vote for this, that or the other before I see it and before I know what’s in it,” Gardner told The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews.

Gardner, who’s voted multiple times over the years to repeal Obamacare, sounded last week as if he was opposed to the repeal-only approach. During a radio interview, he posed questions about a repeal-only measure that he has yet to answer.

Here are Gardner’s questions that Gardner hasn’t answered:

“I think that if you repeal it now, with nothing in its place, what happens if you don’t find that replacement?” Gardner asked on the radio.

“What happens if you don’t reach that agreement?” Gardner asked on the radio.

Another question is, if you can’t answer these questions, how could you or anyone vote to repeal Obmacare?

I left a message for Gardner asking him to respond to his own questions, but I did not get a response.

Gardner wants the U.S. Senate to vote on Obamacare, one way or the other.

The Post reported:

But [Gardner] echoed other Republican leader in arguing the Senate should vote no matter what, even in the face of likely defeat.

“I don’t see why anybody should be concerned about fighting for legislation that they believe will do better than what we have,” Gardner said. “If you look back at history and you see what (Democrat and former Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid did by trying to protect his members from tough votes and making decision on big issues, it did not work.”

Gardner is scheduled to appear at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver today, an event billed as the largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington DC.

Protests are planned outside of the event, at 14th and Stout Streets in Denver, beginning at 4 p.m.

Beauprez-Backed Organization Still Fighting Court Ruling

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s been three months since a Denver judge ordered Colorado Pioneer Action (CPA), a political committee run by former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO), to pay a $17,735 fine for violating campaign finance laws and to register formally as political committee, requiring CPA to disclose its donors.

But Beauprez hasn’t produced the cash or the names of the donors. What’s up?

After Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Robert Spencer issued his ruling that CPA failed to register and file reports as a political committee during the last election, CPA appealed, and Matt Arnold of Campaign Integrity Watchdog (CIW), which brought the case against CPA, guesses the case won’t be heard for a few months, at the earliest.

After the appeal was filed, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office issued an “enforcement order and stay of action.”

“We have stayed the action in CPA pending appeal,” said Suzanne Staiert, Colorado Deputy Secretary of State (SOS), who signed the order, via email. “This is required under our rule. If CPA is unsuccessful, then our practice is to invoice for payment. We have no reason to believe that CPA would not pay if they lost the appeal.”

Arnold thinks Williams office should have invoiced CPA for the fine immediately after the ALJ decision, even though the case was appealed, telling me on Wednesday, “Upon imposition of the penalty, the Secretary of State should have immediately invoiced CPA for the fine, and it’s not discretionary.”

Luis Toro, Director of Colorado Ethics Watch, also reads the applicable SOS rule as only barring “enforcement actions (i.e., lawsuits to enforce the order in district court) and not referral to collections.”

“My opinion is that the Secretary has discretion to file or not file an enforcement action in district court, but that he does not have discretion to refrain from issuing a fine invoice and referring it to collections if unpaid – unless a stay is issued by the ALJ or the Court of Appeals,” Toro told me via email.

“The bottom line is that yes, unless the ALJ or the Court of Appeals issues a stay, the Secretary should send out an invoice for the unpaid fine and refer it to collections if not paid. But CIW is not prevented from filing its own enforcement lawsuit, and in fact that’s what the law contemplates when the Secretary fails to act to enforce an ALJ decision.”

Arnold is concerned that even if Beauprez loses his appeal, filed by high-powered Holland Hart, Williams won’t instruct the state collections office to get the funds from CPA.

Asked if her office has instituted a policy not to collect fines, Staiert wrote, “We do not have a policy ‘not to seek the collection of such fines’, rather we look at the assets of the committee to determine if collection is viable only after a failure to pay.”

Toro pointed out that the letter from Williams’ office “doesn’t say that Matt Arnold can’t file his own enforcement action, in fact, I read it as saying that he can do so.”

The enforcement mechanism, which could compel CPA to pay its fine, register as a political committee, and disclose its donors, is a lawsuit in district court.

Colorado anti-abortion leader takes a shot at LGBT people

You don’t have to be anti-gay to be anti-abortion, but the two sometimes run together in Colorado politics.

The latest example comes from Christy Rodriquez, who runs Colorado Campaign for Life, a group that backs anti-abortion legislation and attacks pro-choice candidates.

Rodriquez “liked” a Facebook post promoting “Heterosexual Pride Day” as an opportunity to “celebrate the people who keep the human race alive.”

“Since the dawn of time, procreation has occupied a fundamental and essential foundation in this world to ensure the preservation of the natural order,” reads the Facebook post.

Rodriquez did not respond to my request for comment about the post generally and, specifically, what she sees as the “natural order”–and whether LGBT people are part of it.

I also wanted to ask her whether gay men who have children via surrogates (or adoption) or lesbian couples who have children via donated sperm, or other such combinations, would be celebrated for keeping the “human race alive” as well.

Last month, in response to a burst of social-media attention on Heterosexual Pride Day, Daniel Evans, editor of The Advocate, wrote:

“The big trending hashtag of the day, #HeterosexualPrideDay, shows willful ignorance of an oppressive reality: every day is straight pride day.

Every day, straight people march down the street, holding hands, kissing, and loving one another without fear of violence or arrest. An article in The Advocate by Alexander Cheves highlights at least 34 simple acts of affection — be it sitting next to the person one loves or stroking his hair — that straight people take for granted. Gay people know that on their lips, a kiss is not just a kiss. It is an act of bravery. It might as well be a revolution.

The hashtag erupted on Twitter at the end of Pride month, and it questioned why the LGBT community deserves its own time and space to celebrate its identity. The ignorance in that question wasn’t lost on much of Twitter. Many listed the reasons why a “Heterosexual Pride Day” is not only unnecessary, but also ignorant to the struggles of minority communities.

This debate is, unfortunately, not new. This argument tends to surface during the height of Pride season when the rainbow banners are at full mast.”

Gardner: “If you repeal it now, with nothing in its place, what happens if you don’t find that replacement?”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

With U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky’s announcement that he’s dumped his bill to replace Obamacare and, instead, will push legislation to repeal the health care law without replacing it for up to two years, a comment by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) sounds a ton more significant today than it did July 6 when Gardner uttered it on KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis Show.

CAPLIS: And last question: as you know, Ben Sasse and some others have been talking about, now, “repeal and replace later, separately.” Where do you come down on that?

GARDNER: Look, I think that if you repeal it now, with nothing in its place, what happens if you don’t find that replacement? What happens if you don’t reach that agreement? And I think that we ought to move forward with an idea now, and put a solution forward to the American people. Look, this is something that Republicans and Democrats ought to find common ground with, because if Democrats refuse to find a solution to a failing Obamacare, shame on them!

CAPLIS: Right.

GARDNER: And that’s what we have to realize, is, the status quo isn’t good enough. And the alternative is a single-payer healthcare system. And look what happened in England, right now, with that child. The parents no longer have the ability to help — excuse me, no longer have the ability to determine their child’s state, because it’s in the hands of the government.

Gardner has yet to talk to journalists about the implosion of the senate healthcare legislation, so, for now, this looks like the only comment reporters have to go on from our senator, who’s a Republican leader in the U.S. Senate and who helped draft McConnell’s bill.

Listen to Gardner on KNUS-710-AM July 6:

Gardner Once Helped Kill Insurer Stabilization That He Now Supports

(We’d guess that Gardner is in no hurry to cast a vote on Trumpcare — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republicans sabotaged Obamacare, in part, by stripping the law of funds to incentivize insurance companies to cover enrollees who were expensive to insure.

One of the lead saboteurs was U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). Back in 2013, he joined U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in opposing what Gardner called “bailouts” of insurance companies. These funds were included in a “risk corridor” provision of Obamacare aimed at stabilizing insurance markets in areas where care is more expensive.

“Only in Washington are bailouts seen as a good approach to bad policy,” said Gardner at the time, explaining why he was an original co-sponsor of Rubio’s bill. “Obamacare’s dangerous fiscal trajectory must be stopped, and soon. I am proud to cosponsor legislation that helps guarantee that taxpayers aren’t on the hook as Obamacare continues to unravel.”

The Gardner-Rubio measure, which was attached to a spending bill, stripped from Oabmacare funds for insurance companies whose clients needed more expensive care.

And now, experts say, Republican have included the insurance-company “bailouts” in the senate healthcare bill for the same reason, to stabilize the marketplace.

Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur reported June 29:

There’s “no difference” between the insurer funds in Obamacare and the ones in the Senate Republican bill, said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law at George Washington University…

Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, said Republicans who are pushing the stabilization fund “may have discovered how much damage they did when they stripped out the risk corridors from the Affordable Care Act.”

“That’s one of the things about this debate that’s so infuriating — the things that they blame on Obamacare are actually, in this case, things that opponents of Obamacare passed,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

The question for Gardner is, are you okay with the “bailouts” in the senate healthcare bill, even though you hated them in Obamcare.

Gardner hasn’t said, and he didn’t return my call. For his part, Rubio has said he’s learning about the issue and “I do have some concern, no doubt.”

Seven State Lawmakers Sign the Fake News Pledge

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Scott Nov. 6 Wikileaks fake newsThe Fake News Pledge has now been signed by seven state lawmakers, all Democrats: State Representatives Mike Foote of Lafayette, Susan Lontine of Denver, Michael Merrifield of Colorado Springs, and Michael Weissman of Aurora as well as State Sen. Irene Aguilar of Denver, State Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman of Denver, and State Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

The Pledge is a promise not to spread fake news on Facebook. It defines fake news as a story “deemed false or inaccurate by Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or by a respected news outlet.” It also must be “packaged to look somehow like news.” Everyone who supports factual discourse, Dem or Republican, should support it.

Westword’s Michael Roberts’ post on this topic today shows why the Pledge isn’t an empty gesture: Colorado state lawmakers and candidates spread obvious fake news on their Facebook pages. Look at the Westword piece, take a step back for a moment, and you realize realize how unbelievably crazy it is for elected officials and candidates to post this kind of stuff.

As far as I know, this is the only tangible step by state lawmakers nationally to fight fake news.

So the signers deserve our thanks for having the guts to try to do something.

And please note those who wouldn’t sign: Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton). Neville told me that “each individual has to be the arbiter of fake news. Lundberg said the term fake news “smacks of a new censorship.”

Overall, I’ve found six Colorado state legislators who posted fake news on their Facebook pages (See here and here). Two removed it (State Rep. Polly Lawrence and former State Rep. Kit Roupe). Two told me they would not remove it (former State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt and State Sen. Tim Neville). Neville posted this: “Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming.” And two lawmakers did not respond to my request that it be deleted (State Rep. Ray Scott, and former State Sen. Laura Woods).

After launching the Pledge, I was accused of being a “fake reporter” by former State Sen. Greg Brophy. And other conservatives attacked me, as if my being progressive somehow undermines the pledge. I am progressive, and I’m paid by progressives. I don’t hide it. But I’m committed to being factual in my writing–and we all can expect the same from our state lawmakers of any political stripe. So I’m hoping more of them sign the Pledge.

Gardner’s explanation for skipping GOP meeting doesn’t hold up

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) office says it erred in telling Steamboat Springs Republicans that a planned lunch meeting last Friday with Gardner was canceled due the expected presence of protesters, when, in fact, the actual reason for the cancellation, according to Gardner’s office, was to “accommodate” a meeting with Democratic Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger.

But Monger told the Colorado Times Recorder today that he was free to meet with Gardner any time during the day–not just during lunch.

“I told him I was coming into town just to meet with him, so I could meet with him anytime he wanted to,” Monger said.

Asked if he could have re-arranged his schedule, Monger said:

Monger: “I had some flexibility, yes, and again I was respectful of the senator’s busy schedule and time, and I said, “Well, I’m more than happy to modify my schedule to meet. I appreciated the opportunity to get his ear, and so I said, ‘Whatever works for you guys.’ The scheduler said, ‘Nope, we’re fine with noon. That would be good.’ So i said, ‘That’s great.'”

It appears Gardner had some flexibility in his schedule, or at least enough to be able to stop by the lunch meeting with Republicans at Carl’s Tavern, because Gardner was a half hour late to his meeting with Monger.

“They called me right at noon, and said they’d be a half hour late,” Monger said.

Monger said his meeting with Gardner, which covered health care and other matters, lasted about an hour and a half.

Asked what she thought of Gardner meeting with Monger for an hour and a half, Routt County Commissioner Cari Hermacinski, who’s a Republican, said, “I wish I could have had the same conversation with the senator too.”

“Obviously the people protesting [in front of the restaurant where Gardner had planned to meet with Republicans] were upset with Senator Gardner, and some of the attendees inside were upset with Senator Gardner too,” said Hermacinski.

“I think he should have met with the people he had scheduled lunch with,” said Hermacinski. “I showed up anyway and just had lunch with some of the people who were there. And unfortunately none of us got to ask the senator questions.”

Routt County Republican Chair Don Mathis advocated that the meeting go on, even without Gardner.

“My personal feeling is that we continue to have the meeting and do not show weakness to the media, [Routt County Democratic Chair] Cathy Carson, or the protesters,” wrote Mathis in an email, obtained from a source, to local Republicans.

In his invitation to Republicans to attend the Gardner meeting, Mathis wrote in an email, “Please come prepared with brutal truthful questions, concerns and issues for him to answer.”

In May, Monger was featured in a Healthier Colorado advertisement opposing the U.S. Senate’s bill to replace Obamacare.

Gardner Says He Was Talking to Coloradans All Week

(Yeah, sure. — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s gotten to the point where we no longer need to examine or critique U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) words at all. They speak for themselves. 

This is Gardner’s latest constituent newsletter, provided for you verbatim in its entirety, as delivered in an email Tuesday with the subject line, “Meeting with Coloradans.” To be clear, this is not my attempt at satire.

Meeting with Coloradans Over the July 4th State Work Period

Last week, I toured the Western Slope where I met with Colorado healthcare providers, farmers and ranchers, local elected representatives, and public lands officials.

Meeting with Coloradans, hearing their concerns, and finding ways to work together to move our country forward is one of the most rewarding parts of my job as a United States Senator. It was important to have discussions with Colorado’s healthcare providers, farmers and ranchers, local officials, and National Park Service employees overseeing our public lands this state work period so I can return to Washington and advocate for policies that will help all of Colorado.

After spending July 4th in my hometown of Yuma, I headed to the Western Slope on Wednesday where I toured Raymond Dairy Farm in Loma, stopped at the Peach Shack (with Thatcher and Caitlyn) and Blaine’s Tomatoes and Farm in Palisade, and attended the Cattleman’s Association dinner in Fruita where I spoke with ranchers about policies that could benefit rural America.

On Thursday, I visited Dinosaur National Monument to discuss U.S. national park policies, met with members of the Colorado Farm Bureau, toured the Produce Peddler in Mack, and met with executives and doctors at Pioneers Medical Center in Meeker to discuss challenges rural hospitals are facing under the Affordable Care Act.

On Friday, I concluded my tour and met with Moffat County officials to discuss economic rural development, visited Knott Ranch to talk about the importance of conservation to farmers, and toured the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs where we discussed healthcare reform.

Fighting for Rural Colorado

Throughout my time in Congress, I have advocated for fully funding the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, and I’m thrilled local governments across Colorado will receive a total of $36.6 million in federal payments to local governments for 2017. These grants are critical to rural counties throughout Colorado and are used to fund essential services, including public safety and emergency response efforts. I have already sent a letter to the Senate appropriators to urge full funding of the PILT program for FY2018 and will continue to fight for Colorado’s rural communities.

Read more in the Denver Post here.

Need Help with a Federal Agency?

My staff is available to assist you with finding out the status of a case and requesting additional information from a federal agency. I have offices in Denver, Durango, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Fort Collins, Greeley, Yuma, and Colorado Springs. Learn more about how we can help here.

Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly update. If I can be of any assistance to you, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-5941.

Sincerely,

Cory Gardner

United States Senator

Still No Town Hall; Now Gardner Refusing to be Anywhere Near Dissenters

(Now that he’s back in Washington D.C., Gardner can use the “airplane delay” excuse again — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) spokesman, Casey Contres, told Steamboat Today on Friday that Gardner had to cancel a planned lunch with local GOP officials “in order to accommodate a necessary healthcare meeting.”

But Republicans in Steamboat Springs told Steamboat Today yesterday that, in fact, Gardner canceled their meeting to avoid a protest in front of the lunch venue.

Steamboat Today’s Lisa Schlichtman reports:

An email from the chair of the Routt County Republicans confirms U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s office canceled his private lunch with a small group of local supporters in Steamboat Springs Friday because of a protest that was taking place outside of Carl’s Tavern where the meeting was to be held.

“I just talked to Cory’s folks,” Republican chair Don Mathis’ wrote in an email he sent out Friday morning to those planning to attend the lunch with Gardner and that was obtained by the Steamboat Today late Friday night. “His security staff feels that due to the current threat assessment and current events that he will have to cancel today’s meeting at Carl’s Tavern.”

When asked what “current events” he was referencing in his email, Mathis acknowledged it was the “Everyone’s Voice is Important” protest, organized by Routt County Democrats after they learned Gardner was going to be in Steamboat for a private meeting.

Gardner’s office isn’t returning calls to clarify why the meeting was cancelled. Nor is it clear what constitutes a “necessary healthcare meeting” for Gardner, given that he’s refused to hold a town hall meeting on the topic.

Mathis told Steamboat today that he understands Gardner’s concerns, given violent protests around the country.

Still, Mathis doesn’t think the protesters posed a serious threat to Gardner’s safety, according to the newspaper report.

The Gardner protest was referred to by organizers as the “Peaceful Everyone’s Voice is Important Protest,” and it featured signs such as, “Save the ACA.”

Gardner’s decision to refuse to be anywhere near a protest against him takes his refusal to hold a town hall meeting to another level.

It’s sure to further anger his opponents, who are already upset that the senator has refused to hold a town hall-style meeting with constituents this year.

All the other members of Colorado’s congressional delegation have held such meetings.

In fact, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, also a Republican from Colorado, actually hustled to attend a mock town-hall that organizers had expected him to skip, and he’s said he had a “great time” at such events.

Gardner told The Denver Post June 30 that the one factor preventing him from meeting disability activists, prior to their arrest at his office, was that his plane had been diverted and landed around midnight.