Basalt officials attempt carrot-and-stick approach with U.S. Rep. Boebert

Town Council asks Lauren Boebert to participate in a virtual town hall so they can learn about her stance on major issues

Basalt Town Council members are using a carrot and a stick when it comes to interacting with embattled U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Rifle Republican who represents the 3rd Congressional District.

All seven members of the Basalt Town Council signed a letter Tuesday to U.S. House leaders of both parties that expresses “condemnation” of Boebert “based on her association with the right-wing groups that supported the insurrection of the Capitol Building” on Jan. 6.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., center, and other Republicans wait during a break as the House and Senate convene to count the Electoral College votes cast in November's election, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

Elected officials from counties and municipalities throughout the Western Slope signed the letter. As of Wednesday, it included officials from Basalt, Glenwood Springs, Pitkin County and Eagle County.

The letter seeks formation of a Congressional panel to thoroughly investigate the “hate groups” affiliated with the riot at the Capitol. It also seeks Congressional investigation of Boebert’s actions, which the letter alleges “encouraged the mob mentality” and asks the Congressional leaders to “follow through” with appropriate disciplinary actions.

Boebert Condemnation 1.12.21.pdf

Basalt Town Council members signed onto the letter as individuals, so it wasn’t discussed at Tuesday night’s regular council meeting. However, at the suggestion of Councilman Gary Tennenbaum, the board also decided to offer Boebert a carrot by inviting her to a non-confrontational virtual town hall meeting to outline her agenda.

“I want to invite her, not to harass, just to talk to her about her vision for this district,” Tennenbaum said at the council meeting.

He stressed multiple times that Boebert must be assured that the meeting isn’t an ambush. Tennenbaum said he is seeking the “lowdown about what she has in mind for this district. She will be able to speak before any of us speaks.”

Boebert has faced unrelenting pressure from constituents angered by her action since taking office Jan. 3. The Aspen City Council and Eagle County Commissioners have penned letters expressing their opposition to her actions. In her latest action, Boebert caused a stir Tuesday night at the U.S. House when she triggered a metal detector and was refused entry when she wouldn’t allow guards to check her bag. Boebert has a permit to carry a concealed weapon but firearms aren’t allowed on the floor of the House and Senate.

A central piece of Boebert’s campaign was defending the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Basalt council members said they want to hear her stance on a variety of other issues: protecting Western Slope water and dealing with wildfires among them.

“We really want to hear more than the Second Amendment issue,” Mayor Bill Kane said.

The council directed Town Manager Ryan Mahoney to extend the invitation to Boebert’s staff, though no specific date was determined. Boebert’s office had not responded to an email or phone call from The Aspen Times as of Wednesday afternoon to see if she will accept the invite to a town hall meeting.

After voting against the impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Boebert released a statement that said she, like the president and other House Republicans, have “condemned those who broke the law and stormed the Capitol on January 6th, made it clear that they do not represent the American First movement, urged prosecution for these unlawful acts, and promised an orderly transition (of President-elect Joe Biden) in just a few short days on January 20th.”

Her statement denied that Trump’s comments at a rally helped incite the riot at the Capitol.

Councilwoman Elyse Hottel suggested Basalt invite other elected officials from the area to participate in the meeting, if it happens. Councilman David Knight said the invitation isn’t a stunt, but potentially a model on how other areas of Boebert’s constituency could engage with her via videoconference.

Tennenbaum said the reality is the recent controversy won’t force Boebert to resign, so Basalt officials might as well attempt to work with her.

“She’s our representative. I’m not happy about it but she is,” he said. “One of the things I’m really worried about is, is she really going to be able to represent us?”