By Stan Bush
DENVER (CBS4) – More than 1,000 people plan to attend a U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner town hall this Friday in Denver, but one person who won’t be there — Gardner.
“It’s extremely upsetting as a citizen to see politicians ducking out of their responsibility,” said Eve Rose, an organizer with Indivisible Front Range Resistance. “If he’s not there, we’ve been collecting questions, and at the end we’ll present those questions to Sen. Gardner.”
The town hall called “With or Without You: Town Hall for Sen. Cory Gardner” is being put together by a large group of organizations critical of President Donald Trump’s agenda.
“So many of these issues transcend party politics and we want Sen. Gardner to hear that,” Rose said.
Congressional representatives usually spend the President’s Day week in their home districts participating in sparsely attended town halls. However, this year those Republican meetings have become beachfronts for a tsunami of anger.
Viral videos from rowdy town halls have become a rallying cry for grassroots organizations hoping to stop the president’s agenda and a cautionary tale for elected representatives.
Gardner, like many Republicans, has made unsubstantiated claims the disruptive members at town halls are paid protesters.
“I’m definitely not a paid protester and we don’t understand why Sen. Gardner is trying to discredit us rather than listen to us,” said Rose.
During his current sweep through the state, Gardner has limited his public outreach to private meetings with small groups or planned speaking engagements.
On Wednesday Gardner spoke to the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce and at a luncheon at the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture in Denver, where dozens of protesters were waiting for him. He’s posted videos of his agenda on social media, but right now only plans “tele town halls.”
Gardner’s office did not return CBS4’s calls for comment on CBS4’s story.
Earlier this year U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, was lambasted when video caught him leaving through the back door of a rowdy town hall, but on Wednesday his office told CBS4 Coffman plans to hold “a traditional town hall” in April.