Here’s What Colorado’s Congressfolk Will Be Up To On Their August Break

Washington Daily Life
Andrew Harnik/AP
A woman sunbathes on the East Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

In many ways, Congress is like high school. You’ve got your different houses, a new freshman class (every two years), cliques, and, of course, summer vacation (a.k.a. the August recess). It starts this week for the Senate, and began last week for the House.

Many members of Congress will use part of the time to actually go on vacation and spend time with family and friends they don’t get to see much as the commute back and forth to Washington, D.C. But much of the delegation’s time will be spent in Colorado, meeting with constituents, interest groups and local leaders to talk policy and what they’ve been doing on the hill.

We checked in with the Colorado delegation and this is what they had to say about their recess plans.

Sen. Michael Bennet

The Bennet team has been meeting with Coloradans one-on-one in “Summer Listening Sessions” to find answer questions, listen to concerns, and help constituents. A spokesperson for Bennet says, “While Sen. Bennet’s schedule is still being fleshed out, he will continue to look for opportunities to talk about issues that are top of mind with Coloradans, including health care and his Medicare-X plan, economic opportunity, and protecting our public lands through his CORE Act with Rep. Neguse.”

(You might have heard, Sen. Bennet is running for president.)

Sen. Cory Gardner

Gardner plans to travel to all four corners of the state. He plans to discuss health care with constituents and his efforts to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions, drive down prescription drug prices and increase the overall quality of care for Coloradans. He’ll be doing what he calls a “Main Street Walking Tour” where he meets with local officials, business owners and people in the local community.

On the economic front, he also plans to meet with manufacturers and talk with employees and business owners about what they need to keep industry going and how the USMCA trade agreement will affect them. He’ll also hold his annual farm tour, where he meets with agriculture producers in Colorado to talk about expanding access to global markets, drought resiliency and rural broadband deployment.

Aside from the above, you can expect Gardner to talk about BLM’s move to Grand Junction and the Denver metro area, the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act and the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Rep. Diana DeGette (1st Congressional District)

DeGette expects to hold several meetings and events in her district to discuss important issues from the climate crisis to her Colorado Wilderness Act. She’ll also travel outside of her district to meet visit Montezuma County officials and residents to discuss her wilderness bill, something she promised when the bill had a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee. She also expects to hold several town hall-style meetings in August.

Rep. Joe Neguse (2nd Congressional District)

Neguse brought a little bit of Washington to Colorado with him this break when he held a committee hearing in Boulder. He plans to spend his recess meeting with constituents in every county of his district. He has his 18th town hall in Estes Park on August 12 and will also hold office hours during the break. He’s also planning some service town halls, where he works on volunteer projects with constituents.

The freshman congressman has introduced 20 pieces of legislation since coming to D.C. in January from a sculpture to honor suffragists to a state-wide wilderness designation bill. He’ll tout all 20 bills across the district and plans roundtables to talk legislative ideas.

Rep. Scott Tipton (3rd Congressional District)

Tipton’s district makes up the western portion of the state. He plans to traverse the district, meeting with constituents. He’s held one public forum in Custer Country about the inconsistent Postal Service. (You might have read USPS failed to show up, which gets to the heart of the mail problem some of his constituents face.) He’s expecting to hold other issue-specific meetings and roundtables in various communities, especially focusing on improving rural healthcare and discussing the draft of his public lands bill.

He’s planning on talking about his support and advocacy for the more than 50,000 veterans in the district, including helping more than 300 veterans so far this year in obtaining records or getting assistance with the Veterans Administration.

Rep. Ken Buck (4th Congressional District)

No comment from his office.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (5th Congressional District)

No response to inquiries about recess plans.

Rep. Jason Crow (6th Congressional District)

Crow said he’s looking forward to listening to the community and making himself accessible. He plans to hold multiple town halls and what he calls “Crow on Your Corner” events. And on Aug. 21 he’ll host his first job fair at Community College of Aurora. He also plans on work related to the local economy and that means advocating for more investment in the aerospace industry in the district, and even a cannabis tour.

He’ll also talk to constituents about some of his achievements, including increasing transparency at the Aurora Detention facility, where his office makes weekly visits. He’ll also talk about legislation he’s sponsoring, such as the FIRE Act, which would require campaigns to immediately notify authorities if a foreign entity contacts them, or bills aimed at reducing gun violence. His Colorado Loophole Act removes a provision in federal law that exempts rifles and shotguns from out-of-state sale limitations. This bill comes in response to a Florida woman reportedly obsessed with the Columbine school shooting who came to the state and was able to buy a shotgun that she could not buy in her home state.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (7th Congressional District)

Perlmutter plans to use his August Recess to hear from constituents (he’s already had one telephone town hall), meet with local businesses and update folks about what he’s working on.

Along with several roundtables and business tours, Rep. Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery in August and September, as well as a Commuting with Your Congressman event on Aug. 21 where he will ride the newly-opened G Line.

The congressman said his number one priority continues to be making sure Colorado’s economy works for everyone and working to address some of the downsides of a good economy, such as the high cost of housing and congested streets. He’ll also tout some of the successes he’s had in Congress, including his SAFE Banking Act, and amendments that support the National Renewable Energy Lab and an amendment to improve the advisory board for former Rocky Flats and other nuclear weapons workers.