D3 Press

Republican Senator a No-show at Ridgway Town Hall

Live Chicken - A Symbol of our Rural Western Heritage, Stands In Instead

If there were missing persons milk cartons for adults, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner might need a whole convenience store. The elusive Republican has assiduously avoided contact with most of his constituents ever since Donald Trump was elected President. But that didn’t stop D3 Indivisible Colorado from organizing a town hall event for the seldom seen Senator. 

Colorado was decidedly blue in the razor-thin red wave of 2016 and some Coloradans feel Gardner is overly beholden to large campaign contributors and special interests. Many voters don’t believe Republican’s servile devotion to well-heeled political funders has reflected Western Colorado values. And the folks from D3 Indivisible Colorado were determined let him know—whether he showed up or not.

“We have learned there is absolutely no substitute for coming together and having an in person dialogue which is why we were hoping for Senator Gardner was here tonight,” said organizer Erika Gordon.

To sweeten the invitation, a stunning trophy was created by local design studio, Kiittelä, to be awarded to Senator for courageously facing his constituents. No doubt these Western Slope voters were eager to ask the Republican why he voted multiple times against the Affordable Helathcare Act and why he’s repeatedly voted to protect polluters and gut the nation’s environmental protections. 

Taylor Chase, and educator by profession, and a member of the D3 Education Policy Tracker group, wished to voice her displeasure at the appointment of Betsy De Vos as Education Secretary—an appointment that the Republican Senator supported wholeheartedly. Chase said that De Vos is particularly unqualified for such a role and cited the Secretary’s push for private school vouchers as an example. 

“At the end of the day it takes away the equity in education,” Chase said. 

Chase noted that federal education dollars diverted to private schools would harm the Western Slope. “We don’t have private and charter schools here,” she said. “It would be detrimental to rural education and rural families.” 

Sadly however, and despite numerous invitations, Senator Gardner was not availed to accept the award. Instead the dozens of Western Slope voters who were hoping to make their voices heard were forced to give the trophy to a feathered beast, a feminine version of Foghorn Leghorn. But like Gardner, the chicken had little interest in constituent concerns and the coop was wheeled away with few ruffled feathers. 

For Chase, the Republican Senator’s no-show was a bitter reminder that political engagement is a necessity in the era of Trump and the Republican control of all branches of Federal government. Especially since Gardner accused his opposition of being “paid protesters.” 

“Not only did Senator Gardner ignore us, but he insulted us,” she said.