Gardner meets the people
Gets an earful of dissent, a few cheers from GJ crowd
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. got several earfuls and a few attaboys Friday during a town hall heavily dominated by critics of him and the Trump administration.
Gardner spoke to about 250 people in the Robinson Theatre at Colorado Mesa University.
Gardner’s update on his proposal to move the Bureau of Land Management to Grand Junction drew scattered applause but when he asked how many in the audience supported single payer health care, the room erupted in cheers.
Several questioners — who were selected by lot — thanked Gardner for introducing legislation with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., that would allow participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to remain legally in the United States and offer a chance at citizenship.
And they applauded when he said he supported the investigation by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into allegations of collusion between the Russians and President Donald Trump.
Audience members held up pink and green strips of paper signifying whether they agreed or disagreed with Gardner, frequently turning the hall pink with waving signs of disagreement.
Audience members cheered when one woman said the middle class was disappearing, the environment suffering and opportunity was lagging.
“So what are conservatives conserving?” she asked to applause.
Even though many in the audience supported single payer health care, they remain in the minority, Gardner said, noting that a single-payer measure failed statewide in 2016 and did particularly poorly in Mesa County, 85 percent to 15 percent.
Cutting the corporate income tax also got a cold reception, with audience members shouting out, “Loopholes, loopholes!” when Gardner said the 35 percent rate should be reduced.
One resident who identified himself as Dave Christenson pressed Gardner against voting to fund the wall between the United States and Mexico.
“How can you possibly spend money to divide people?” he asked.
Gardner said he believed that humankind was altering the Earth’s climate and that he supported an all-of-the-above energy strategy, but added, “I don’t want to pursue reckless policies that will destroy our economy.”
Several Grand Junction police officers and private security personnel lined the walls of the room and one man was escorted out of the hall after a confrontation with a staff member from another congressional office.