About 20 people gathered in Buckley Park on Saturday evening to protest U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s involvement in a possible federal government shutdown that will occur if Congress fails to pass funding legislation.
The protest, hosted by Rocky Mountain Values and supported by Indivisible Durango, was originally scheduled to take place at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio where Boebert was scheduled to attend the La Plata County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
But the Southern Ute Tribe contacted Rocky Mountain Values and asked the group to respect the tribe’s sovereignty, Harrison Wendt, a Durango activist, said.
“We decided that was totally a valid request and we want to respect sovereignty and not protest on their land,” he said.
Boebert and U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who was slated to make a guest appearance at the Lincoln Day Dinner, decided to skip the major fundraiser, Wendt said.
“Boebert and Gaetz stayed in (Washington) D.C. They’re not even in La Plata County right now. She put out a video today on some news organization where she said, ‘I’m here to serve my constituents and not perform political theater,’” he said. “But unfortunately, the GOPers spent hundreds, hundreds of dollars to see Matt Gaetz and Boebert. And now they won’t be there.”
According to the La Plata County Republican Party’s webpage for the Lincoln Day Dinner, the entry fee was $100 per person and $1,000 to reserve a table. The webpage still listed Boebert and Gaetz as featured guest speakers as of 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Durango Herald called Boebert’s Durango and Washington, D.C., Congressional offices for comment about her decision not to attend the dinner, but did not immediately receive a response.
In an episode of The War Room with Stephen Bannon published Saturday morning, Boebert said, “I have put my life on hold to come here (to Washington, D.C.) and provide results for the American people; to hold this administration accountable; to deliver on the promises I made; to govern on behalf of my constituents and millions of Americans throughout the country.”
She also said that she is “not here for the political show, the political theater. As Matt Gaetz calls it, the failure theater of Congress.”
Attendees at Saturday’s protest were concerned about a looming government shutdown Boebert and a handful of her Republican colleagues are threatening in Congress.
They also voiced concerns about another scandal, in which Boebert and Democrat-supporting Quinn Gallagher were caught on security footage groping and fondling each other before being escorted out of a production of “Beetlejuice: The Musical” on Sept. 10.
“When somebody like (Boebert) can do what she did inside a theater and vote the way she’s voted, which is constantly against children – feeding children, meals for children, it’s time like we stop living like boobs and voting for this woman,” protester Heather Pierson said.
Pierson, who attended the protest wearing a black-and-white striped suit portraying the character “Beetlejuice,” said extremist Republicans in Congress have “hijacked our government.”
She said Republicans who aren’t standing up to Boebert and her colleagues are just as guilty as the Republicans threatening a government shutdown. She also said people who aren’t voting in elections are guilty for the country’s predicament as well.
“The ones who are on the fence are just as guilty,” she said. “And it’s the same for people who aren’t voting right now.”
Nora Massiaon, another protester, said she’s “fed up” with Boebert and the Republican Party. She called Boebert a hypocrite for preaching traditional family values to her constituents and then getting groped in a theater where families are present.
On the possible government shutdown, she said it’s appalling that Congress had all this time to reach a deal on funding measures, but a few Republicans, including Boebert, are holding Congress “hostage.”
She also said the ramifications of a shutdown to educators and veterans are scary, and the shutdown is uncalled for.
“Coloradan towns lose tourism dollars from our national parks being closed,” Wendt said of a shutdown. “Colorado veterans will lose services. Colorado farmers loans will not get processed. And Colorado families who are struggling will not get financial support.”
He said Boebert is more concerned about “political theater” than she is about taking care of her constituents in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
“This will be so they can cut critical programs and drive their ridiculous impeachment agenda,” he said. “We know this is what Boebert is fighting for, and it’s not for funding our government and taking care of the needs of everyone in CD3 and our entire country.”
He said Boebert wants to gut and privatize Medicare and was one of 15 Republicans to vote against the PACT Act, a bill to expand veteran benefits.
During the last government shutdown in 2018, when former President Donald Trump demanded funding for a wall along the United States’ southern border, Wendt said federal employees based in Durango, whom he knew through work colleagues, couldn’t afford their mortgages because they weren’t getting paychecks.
“And this is going to happen again,” he said. “Our BLM firefighters, they won’t be paid. They’ll probably still have to work but won’t be getting paid. … The last five government shutdowns have happened under a GOP-led House. If that doesn’t say everything we need to know, I don’t know what does.”