Salazar, 2 senators won’t attend town hall meeting scheduled by conservative alliance

If Colorado’s senators and their congressman won’t discuss the president’s health care agenda with them, Western Slope conservatives said they’ll have a discussion without them.

Invitations were delivered Thursday to the offices of U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., and Colorado’s two senators, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Democrats.

“We’ve been trying for many weeks to get Udall, Bennet and Salazar to agree to meet with their constituents in Mesa County in a town-hall forum,” said Jennifer Bailey, president of the Western Slope Conservative Alliance.

“None of them have agreed to the meeting, so we’ve decided to arrange it, invite them and hold the town hall with or without them.”

The group will hold its town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 3. in Brownson Arena on the Mesa State College campus.

Tara Trujillo, a spokeswoman for Udall, wrote in an e-mail response Thursday that the senator can’t attend because he will be in Colorado Springs that day in his official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He will be meeting with military officials about post-traumatic stress disorder and other health care issues for soldiers, she wrote.

“We scheduled these meetings several weeks ago,” Trujillo wrote.

Bennet, likewise, will be elsewhere in Colorado, in Baca County on part of his 64-county tour of the state.

“Michael appreciates the invitation to take part in what would be his, by our count, 18th town hall on the Western Slope (and second in Mesa County), but we have to make sure we’re paying similar attention to other parts of Colorado as well,” wrote his spokesman, Michael Amodeo.

Salazar will be conducting a town hall teleconference at 7 p.m. that day, and his office said dial-in instructions will be released soon.

His district includes most of the Western Slope.

A spokesman for Salazar said previously the congressman has been active in the Grand Valley, accompanying President Barack Obama to Central High School for a town hall meeting.

He also met with physicians and others in the Grand Valley health care system.

Both senators also accompanied Obama to Central High School.

Salazar said he would draft a letter to Obama asking that he pattern a national approach to health care reform on the nonprofit-dominated system in Mesa County.

The Brownson Arena meeting is to be free and open to the public.


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