Sen. Gardner tours Grizzly Creek Fire |

Sen. Gardner tours Grizzly Creek Fire

Peter Baumann
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
U.S. Forest Service employees take a photo with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) on Friday in Glenwood Springs.
Peter Baumann / Post Independent

One thing was clear early on in Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-Colo.) tour of the Grizzly Creek Fire on Friday.

“The community has pulled together in an incredible way,” Gardner said afterward during an interview at Colorado Mountain College’s Morgridge Commons. “The firefighters, the forest service can’t be any more complimentary of the community.”

Gardner is visiting Glenwood Springs on Friday and Saturday to talk with local leaders, residents and others about needs relating to the fire and more. He offered words of praise to those who’d been working since Aug. 10 to get the Grizzly Creek Fire under control.

“They did a phenomenal job, the firefighters, of saving this,” he said. “There were many areas of the town where it had multiple chances to make a run and it didn’t do it. But, we’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of us for Glenwood.”

Gardner said he recognized the need for a “Glenwood resiliency project” to help the city recover not just from the fire but from the economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m looking forward to partnering with the local community, the county, and the city to create a long-term resiliency project. … Where we work with the Forest Service, the Department of Transportation, the city and the county to fund and fill the needs that we have to have, both in our drinking water systems and our transportation systems and the ongoing needs of this fire work.”

Odds are good for a second stimulus

For businesses and individuals hard-hit by the pandemic and resulting shutdowns, Gardner said he’s confident Congress will come together before the November elections to pass another stimulus package.

“For the economy, we’re really working hard on an additional Paycheck Protection Program round,” he said. “You have a lot of businesses locally that were participants in the paycheck protection program. Let’s allow those businesses who continue to have revenue loss to get a second draw on the loan. … Let’s expand the ability for them to use those dollars.”

Gardner said a national approach to coronavirus testing would also help ensure that economic improvement continues. He said he is working on a bill with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to do just that.

“We’ve introduced a bill called the TEST Act, along with Senator Bennett, that would create a national testing plan and create a system of diagnostic and testing so that we can identify the next hot spot before it becomes the next outbreak,” Gardner said.

Trump’s chances to take Colorado

Although President Donald Trump lost Colorado to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, Gardner said he thinks the president has a chance to take the state in November but that it’s going to be a challenge given the state has voted for a democratic president the past three presidential elections.

“He did better in the 2016 election than John McCain did in 2008 or than Mitt Romney did in 2012, but you know, it’s a dogfight,” he said.

Clinton had 48.2% of the votes to Trump’s 43.3% in Colorado; while President Barack Obama won Colorado in 2008 53.7% to McCain’s 44.7% and Obama in 2012 won with 51.5% to Romney’s 46.1%.