The Crestone/Baca Indivisible group held its first organizational meeting at the home of Chalet II resident Sarah Hoenninger in mid-January with about 20 local residents gathering. According to organizer Susannah Ortego, the purpose was “to offer regular people a way to act effectively rather than sit home and worry about potentially destructive administrative and legislative actions that will affect all Americans on the heels of the last election.

“Because this administration is only being enabled by a Republican majority that is unwilling to provide checks and balances intended by writers of our Constitution, and because the majority also seems unwilling to practice any legislative moderation among themselves,” she added, “it is up to regular people to hold those politicians accountable for their actions and inactions.”

Ortego reported that for that reason more than 60 people have signed up to engage in positive local activism with the Crestone/Baca Grande Indivisible group and that they continue receiving calls from residents living outside Crestone/Baca, like Zapata and Saguache, asking to become involved. “This isn’t just happening because we’re a conspicuously ‘progressive’ community. It is happening all over the country and it is a very real movement, judging by the crowds that appeared at recent town halls in Utah, Tennessee, California and Aurora, CO. It isn’t going away,” Ortego said.

The Indivisible mission is

outlined in the sidebar that accompanies this article. Members are working with other Indivisible groups in this state and are looking to coordinate activities and share information with the recently formed SLV Women ACT Group out of Alamosa. They are the ones that organized the Jan. 20 march in Alamosa that so many Crestonites attended.

Gardner doubles down 

News reports in Colorado and in mainstream media recently reported that Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (R) keeps doubling down on his assertion that it’s only “paid protesters” who are making all the “noise”.  Ortego says “this assertion has played well with other Republicans like Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who said the same thing after thousands of his own constituents came to tell this chairman of the Congressional Oversight Committee to ‘Do your job’ early in February. But that assertion is an ‘alternative fact’, meaning that it is simply wrong.

“I look at how many people have joined our effort in this one little community and I know that no one is paying them to write all the post cards and make all the calls that they’ve been sending his way. I don’t know who Senator Gardner is trying to kid, because he isn’t fooling anyone I know.

“The fact is that we have been continuously been calling and writing—to Senator Gardner, asking him to reject blatantly unqualified and potentially incompetent Wall St. billionaires for cabinet positions, and to our Third Congressional District representative Scott Tipton (R), who has apparently never seen an environmental protection regulation that he doesn’t want to eliminate.

“Since he and his Republican colleagues have been rushing to overturn environmental, banking and fossil fuel industry regulations while people are distracted by Trump’s latest tweet, and are planning to privatize Medicare (just for a start), it isn’t reasonable to expect any of us to be complacent. That’s one thing that landed us where we are.”

Welcome to the valley

Ortego told the Eagle that complacency may also be unlikely when SLV constituents learn that while Rep. Tipton’s and Sen. Gardner’s staffs have insisted that their bosses could not spare the time to hold a town hall anywhere in the Third Congressional District, they did find time recently to meet in Cortez with the Cattlemen’s Association and have accepted an invitation to appear at a Republican fundraiser in Alamosa on March 4.

According to the Feb. 14 edition of the Valley Courier both men are expected to attend the $30 a plate dinner at Adams State. At this writing, discussions are underway to determine if the Senator and Congressman will be willing to meet with at least a small group of constituents on March 4, even if they remain unwilling to hold a town hall while they’re here. If not, then Ortego says they are likely to find a peaceful gathering of District 3 constituents waiting outside the dinner venue to help their other hosts welcome them to Alamosa.