Members of Congress have the next week off to work in their districts, but don’t expect to see too many in Colorado. The delegation has only calendared a few events despite fierce pressure from anti-Trump activists.
The groups pushing for town halls are often linked to Indivisible--a network of former Democratic congressional staffers who wrote a guide “for resisting the Trump agenda.” Part of the plan is to demand public town halls. The forums then become places where left-leaning voters can express disapproval for Congress and the new president.
It’s a strategy modeled on the Tea Party’s success ahead of the 2010 midterms. That’s when people packed town halls to express anger over Obamacare. Democrats lost the House in that election--and haven’t regained it since.
Activists tied to Indivisible have gotten creative with their demands, especially when they have aimed those demands at Sen. Cory Gardner. MoveOn.org and other groups now hold rallies every Tuesday outside his Denver office. They also delivered petitions last Monday with around 19,000 signatures asking the senator for a town hall meeting.
There are even “lost dog” posters around downtown Denver, asking people if they’ve seen the senator. But neither he nor Colorado’s other delegation members appear to be bending under the pressure.
Schedules are still coming together, but as of Thursday only Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, and Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada, had a live in-person community event planned.
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, will return to his district next week for what's being billed as a listening tour on how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Specific events have not been announced.
Some others are offering telephone events in which constituents sign up beforehand, then are dialed in to listen to a member of Congress and perhaps ask some questions.
A few weeks ago, Coffman appeared at an event at a library in Aurora where he tried to answer questions about healthcare. He expected a small crowd, but hundreds showed up to speak to the congressman. As people sang and chanted in the lobby, 9News reported that Coffman slipped away with the help of police.
Since the inauguration, Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, and Perlmutter have each held community meetings in Colorado.
Here’s a list of town hall meetings Colorado congress members have held since the inauguration and have on their schedules. We’ll add events as they are announced.