Our friend Jason Salzman took note last weekend of the fact that Sen. Cory Gardner’s voicemail boxes have been either consistently filled or the phones have gone entirely unanswered at most if not all of his regional offices and his main office in Washington, D.C. for many days now. A huge uptick in citizen inquiries about the fate of health reform and other issues have flooded congressional offices since the beginning of the year, but Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora in particular seem to be having bigger problems than others in responding–or even getting the message.
As the Durango Herald’s Jonathan Romeo reports, the trouble getting ahold of Gardner’s staff continues–and constituents are not happy about it:
Since the election and subsequent inauguration of President Donald Trump, many of those in attendance Tuesday have called their locally elected officials to express a range of concerns.
Most people standing outside Gardner’s office near Office Depot said such things as Trump’s nominees for key Cabinet positions, environmental policies and basic human rights have prompted them to call or write at least once a week.
All said Gardner has failed to respond in any meaningful way – in contrast to Congressman Scott Tipton, a Republican, and Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat – and that attempts to contact a representative in the Durango office have continually been unsuccessful. [Pols emphasis]
“I just don’t understand why Cory Gardner is not responding to the people he’s supposed to represent,” said Gail Harriss, a Durango resident. “Especially when time is of the essence with Trump’s nominees.”
Romeo quotes Sen. Gardner’s spokesman complaining about a large volume of calls from “New York and California” that they allegedly have to sort through in order to respond to bonafide Colorado constituents. But that doesn’t explain the inability for constituents to get through at the local offices, which generally aren’t targeted by out-of-state campaigns. And obviously if constituents can’t even leave a message, Gardner can’t claim they’re “sorting through” anything.
And perhaps most importantly, other representatives aren’t having the same problems.
This is not something we would take lightly if we were on Sen Gardner’s staff. Bad constituent relations, especially at a moment of high drama like we’re seeing today as the Trump administration sets to work on an agenda that has millions of Americans genuinely frightened about the future, is the kind of thing voters remember in elections–even elections that are still a few years away.
If Gardner cements a reputation for ignoring his constituents back home while backing Trump’s controversial moves in Washington, it could well come back to haunt him.