CD3 voters mixed on Rep. Lauren Boebert’s performance: Week 5
Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting voters throughout Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Through the month of May, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times, Steamboat Pilot & Today, Craig Press and Vail Daily will be running stories highlighting Democratic and Republican voters in each community and providing their impressions of Rep. Lauren Boebert’s first months in office. This week, voters in Eagle County are featured.
Gypsum resident: Boebert has taken constituents’ interests to Washington
Before Lauren Boebert announced her first run for public office, Pamela Chapman believed Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District needed new representation.
Chapman, currently a “semi-retired entrepreneur” and “spiritual and self-esteem coach,” lives in Gypsum with her husband.
Chapman moved to Eagle County in 2008 after working in Southern California for a number of years.
Replying to emailed questions, Chapman noted she was raised by “Kennedy Democrats” in the South Bronx of New York City. Her parents were “quite conservative,” Chapman wrote, adding that her first votes were cast as a registered Libertarian.
That early affiliation represents her family’s values: “God, family, work, justice for all and small government.”
Chapman acknowledged that former Rep. Scott Tipton was an entrenched incumbent. But, she added, “I couldn’t tell you what he did (for the district). There was never an email, a town hall meeting or anything else, as far as I know. I honestly didn’t even know what he looked like.”
Chapman said after Boebert announced her candidacy, she began talking to people about her being the district’s representative.
“I was astonished to find how many constituents did not have positive things to say about Tipton and were truly excited about Boebert running. Her energy is contagious.”
While Boebert has been the target of much criticism, Chapman said much of that criticism is unwarranted. In February, Chapman authored an opinion piece for the Vail Daily asking those critics to stop “bashing” the new representative.
While Boebert is often a lightning rod for criticism, Chapman noted Boebert has led, co-sponsored or supported a number of bills in her first few months in office, including:
- Co-sponsoring the Forest Information Reform Act led by Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Montana. The proposed regulations cut the bureaucratic red tape to allow for responsible forest management by nixing the requirement to reinitiate consultation when new information becomes available. These changes will provide proper wildland fire management, increase recreational activities and promote industry.
- Introducing the Protecting American Energy Jobs Act. This bill would nullify President Joe Biden’s job-killing energy executive actions by repealing Executive Order 13990, Executive Order 14008 and Secretarial Order 3395. The Protecting American Energy Jobs Act protects American energy jobs, helps ensure reliable and affordable energy supplies, and repeals job-killing executive overreach.
- Introducing the Western Water Security Act to protect water rights for future generations and uphold state water law. The Western Water Security Act prevents federal water grabs, protects private property rights and helps ensure an abundant supply of clean water for future generations.
Chapman said support for those and other bills is evidence Boebert is “speaking up about the topics important to her constituents.”
Colorado’s congressional districts will be redrawn this year — and another district added to the mix.
While the 3rd District will likely look at least somewhat different than it does today, Chapman said she believes Boebert can grow her support.
“She is a breath of fresh air,” Chapman said. “And I believe people are tired of career politicians on both sides of the aisle.”
Gypsum Democrat saw Boebert coming in 2014
Eagle County resident Charlie Vogel acknowledges the media introduced Boebert to the world and helped her develop a following.
He may have even had a slight hand in it.
A blogger for the aggregate site Little Green Footballs, Vogel first took notice of Boebert in 2014, when an Associated Press story about her received worldwide attention. Boebert’s restaurant had just opened in Rifle, where the staff was allowed and encouraged to carry guns.
The Associated Press, which contracts with hundreds of smaller publications across the country, saw national appeal in a story about the restaurant and Boebert, and a star was born.
A memorable quote from the article from Boebert — “We called it Shooters and started throwing guns and Jesus all over the place” — has always stuck with Vogel, who lives on the edge of Boebert’s district in Gypsum but commutes deeper into Boebert’s district to work as a ski patroller for Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs.
Vogel’s blog post, which was inspired by the Associated Press story, ran June 29, 2014. It received more than 1,500 reads.
A year later, Vogel watched as Donald Trump used the media to help his rise, so by the time 2020 arrived, Vogel was not at all surprised to see Boebert use those same tactics. After all, he had been watching Boebert roll her media attention into Twitter followers since 2014.
What did surprise Vogel, however, was when Boebert defeated Scott Tipton in the Republican primary election for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
“I was just floored,” Vogel said. “Scott Tipton is your most milquetoast Republican: He voted with Trump 90 percent of the time; he was in office for 10 years, a conservative Republican who didn’t make a lot of waves.”
But in taking a better look at his district, perhaps that was Tipton’s flaw, Vogel said. Boebert did a better job of appealing to people’s emotions.
“I guess what the voters wanted was another Trump-like candidate, and they got it,” he said.
Vogel became a registered Democrat following the 2016 election. In watching Beobert’s rise, Vogel said her tactics in using national issues, cultural grievances and emotional appeals to become an elected representative in his district left a bad taste in his mouth about the candidate in a way Tipton never had.
But Vogel has also made attempts to understand why some of his friends and neighbors voted for Boebert.
“I think it’s part of the zeitgeist that’s been going on since 2015, where conservative Republicans and right-leaning people are sick and tired of business as usual with government, and Lauren Boebert kind of fit into that, with Donald Trump, where they want to send some someone who has never been in government, someone who is truly and outsider, shoots from the hip and speaks their mind,” Vogel said. “And then you have more hard-core right wing people who just want to own the libs; they like the style of using Twitter accounts to piss liberals off. They love that.”
The problem, Vogel says, is voters shouldn’t be getting a social media dopamine hit from a Congressional representative.
“That’s no way to govern,” he said.
He also thinks that while Boebert will attempt to put forth some legislation which will continue to press those buttons, actual representation from her won’t be there when it’s needed.
“Down in Durango, (Rep. Boebert’s staff) rented some office space. There’s nobody there ever; people try and call, and it’s a message machine, and when there is someone there, they immediately ask what political affiliation you are,” Vogel said. “She did (a town hall meeting) a couple of months ago, and a couple of her nonsupporters got through to her, and she didn’t answer their questions directly and basically brushed them off as people that she could ignore, and then the next town hall that she did, a (phone-in) town hall, was 45 minutes long. She took three phone calls, and all three phone calls were … people saying how great she was.”
Vogel says he thinks Colorado State Sen. Kerry Donovan could make a good opponent to take on Boebert.
“She’s got the credentials,” Vogel said of Donovan. “She’s got roots that go way back.”
Vogel said Donovan could also appeal to the center of the political spectrum on the Western Slope.
“I think those moderate Republicans, we’ll call them the business community, and oil and gas and all of that on the Western Slope of Colorado, I think they are saying, ‘We’ll give (Boebert) a chance,’ just like Republicans did in 2016 when they were forced to pull the lever for Donald Trump. They’re thinking maybe she’ll grow into the job,” Vogel said. “But Trump didn’t grow into the job … and it didn’t work for long. I’m hopeful that with this style of governance, if you want to call it that, more people will start to see through it.”
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