Rep. Lauren Boebert stopped by La Plata County Wednesday to meet with county commissioners. The congresswoman also met with The Durango Herald to discuss some of her legislative accomplishments and future priorities.
In a brief 30-minute work session in the county board room, commissioners told Boebert that residents were frustrated by mail delays in rural areas such as Hesperus, and that there was little recourse for those residents.
The commissioners also highlighted the need to slash fees associated with broadband installation and to increase funding for wildfire mitigation.
In a brief moment of tension, Boebert butted heads with Commissioner Marsha Porter-Norton when discussing the newly adopted oil and gas regulations in the county.
Boebert has a reputation for her flashy, and at times controversial, conduct in Washington D.C. and online. But in meetings Wednesday, the representative was calm and attentive.
Boebert touted securing a $1.5 million allocation of federal spending this year for a stoplight in Bayfield as among the accomplishments she delivered residents of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
The meeting with the county was an opportunity for commissioners to bring forward issues that must be changed at the federal level.
The Hesperus post office has been the source of many complaints, commissioners told Boebert. Delayed delivery meant that critical items like medications or live animals are not arriving on time. Boebert encouraged customers to file formal complaints, which her office can use as evidence. She promised to put pressure on the Post Master General to address the issue.
Commissioners also asked Boebert to amend the applicable tax code regarding 1099 forms. The county has a novel program to partially match the costs of wildfire mitigation work on private land. But when an individual receives anything more than $600, the county must issue them a 1099 form for the taxable income.
Given the high price of mitigation, commissioners asked Boebert to raise that limit to either $2,400 or $3,600. They argued that it would make residents more likely to participate in the program if they did not have to report the income and pay taxes on it.
On the topic of fire, Boebert lambasted wilderness designations, calling them a “massive land grab” and lamented the inability to do mitigation work in those zones.
In a jab at Sen. Michael Bennet, the congresswoman appeared to confuse wildfire mitigation, which refers to preemptive treatments that reduce the impact of fire, with wildfire suppression, which refers to containing fires after they have started.
“He has a lot of funding going towards fire mitigation, and I want to start before that,” she said. “I don’t want to be reactionary. Obviously we’re there, we have to mitigate these fires, but we need to be proactive and manage our forests before it gets to a catastrophic wildfire.”
Boebert faces stiff competition entering the next election cycle. She narrowly eked out a victory over Adam Frisch last November, and Frisch has already capitalized on his near-success.
According to campaign finance reports, Frisch raised $4.4 million in the first half of 2023, compared to Boebert’s $1.5 million.
As states begin to exercise the power to limit abortion access, Boebert said her views on the matter remain the same.
In 2020, a ballot initiative to ban abortions after 22 weeks in Colorado failed dramatically. Over 52% of voters in Boebert’s district voted against the measure.
“The majority of our voters, 70 to 80% of our voters, think that it's extreme to have abortions in the third term and full term abortions,” Boebert said. “Late term abortions is where the extremism comes in. And unfortunately, most of the narrative directed by the media points the extremism in the opposite way to those who just want to protect life at any stage.”
When asked if her stance aligns with the voters of her district, the congresswoman reiterated her anti-abortion stance and said she would continue to work to prevent federal dollars from funding abortions.
Boebert will be up for reelection in 2024.
Herald Staff Writer Shane Benjamin contributed to this report.