Denver, February 19, 2017. In response to Senator Cory Gardner’s refusal to meet face-to-face with his constituents in a town hall, Colorado’s largest resistance organizations will be holding an “in absentia” town hall this Friday, Feb. 24th. “It’s his job to plan an in person town hall, but since he has not, we will. The fact is we don’t see any other way to connect with him, given how elusive he has become,” says Katie Farnan, a lead organizer with Indivisible Front Range Resistance. “We have invited the Senator and sincerely hope he will come, but will hold the town hall with or without him.”
Since January, thousands of Senator Gardner’s constituents have been requesting in-person meetings to discuss pressing local and national issues with him. Over 14,000 people have signed a petition requesting a meeting; Hundreds of people have either called or protested outside his office requesting the same.
But so far, Senator Gardner has said no. As early as last week, the Senator’s staff said no town hall was scheduled for recess week, a time traditionally used to meet with constituents. Therefore, a town hall has been scheduled to give a voice to citizens regardless of whether Senator Gardner chooses to attend.
“Critical decisions are being made right now in Congress and we need a town hall now, not next month or sometime in the spring,” said Lisa Clark, another organizing member with Together We Will Colorado.
Citizens organizing the town hall plan to have a space for Senator Gardner – either the man himself or a cardboard cutout of him if he doesn’t attend. They will ask questions to the senator “in absentia” and collect these questions to deliver to his office after the event. This event is sponsored by several of Colorado’s largest resistance organizations, representing over 10,000 Colorado constituents, including:
- Indivisible Front Range Resistance
- Together We Will – Colorado
- CAPE Denver
- Indivisible Denver
- Denver CAN
- Boulder CAN
- Fillmore Street Group
- Hundreds of concerned Colorado residents
Recess week is a time for our members of congress to come home and hear from constituents about the issues that concern us – affordable healthcare, environmental regulation rollbacks, the Trump campaign’s troubling ties to Russia, and the president’s apparent conflicts of interest, to name a few.
A note on telephone town halls: We believe a telephone town hall is not acceptable as a replacement for a face-to-face town hall with constituents. Senator Gardner’s recent conference calls haven’t been publicized, they’ve happened during working hours (February 6th’s happened on Monday at 10:30AM), and they don’t allow people to freely dialogue (questions are screened by staff). We are seeking a traditional town hall where Senator Gardner faces the people he represents, and listens to us, and also has an opportunity to learn from us and what our concerns are.
TOWN HALL LOGISTICS
What: With or Without You: Town Hall for Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) sponsored by some of Colorado’s largest resistance organizations. We have been requesting face-to-face meetings with Senator Gardner since January, but our requests have been denied. We saw no other alternative but to host our own town hall and hope that he comes.
When: Friday, February 24th. Please watch local news outlets for regional Town Halls. An Indivisible Group from Crestone/Baca and the San Luis Valley are also planning to participate regionally.