Gardner meets the people

Gets an earful of dissent, a few cheers from GJ crowd

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner speaks to constituents in the Robinson Theater on the Colorado Mesa University campus Friday morning for a town hall meeting. While the crowd was sparse in the beginning, it swelled to more than 200 people as the audience assembled.

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.


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The most important question asked of Senator Gardner was what he thought so-called “conservatives” were actually conserving.  Those of us who have thought that through, and listened to what most “conservatives” have to say, find that they are not truly “conservative”, unless we define that as “a return to the past”.  That makes them regressive, not conservative.  We should therefore refer to them as such instead of what they call themselves and how they like to be referred to.

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