Spokesman says Senator Gardner did not cancel meeting in Steamboat because of protesters
A spokesman for Cory Gardner said Tuesday the senator canceled his meeting with Routt County Republican leaders Friday to meet with Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger, a Democrat, about health care.
The statement contradicts an earlier report from Routt County GOP Chairman Don Mathis that Gardner’s office told him the senator canceled the get-together because of a protest that took place outside of the restaurant where a meeting with Republican supporters was scheduled to take place at 12:15 p.m.
“The reason we needed to reschedule the lunch meeting was in order to accommodate the meeting with Commissioner Monger that was finalized Friday morning,” Press Secretary Casey Contres clarified in an email. “There was a miscommunication from a staff member in our state office on Friday on why the lunch was being rescheduled.”
When asked directly about whether or not the protest factored into the decision to cancel the meeting with GOP leaders at Carl’s Tavern in Steamboat Springs, Contres said it had not.
Contres said Gardner wanted to meet with Monger, who appeared in a TV advertisement critical of the House health care legislation.
“With health care on the agenda in the Senate, we have been rescheduling several planned meetings to accommodate the needed focus on healthcare right now,” Contres wrote.
Monger said Gardner’s schedulers contacted him Wednesday afternoon about a meeting, which was originally scheduled for noon Friday in the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat. That meeting was eventually postponed until around 12:30 p.m., the same time the senator was supposed to be meeting with supporters at Carl’s.
“Cory and I go back a couple of years,” Monger said. “It was a good opportunity for me to meet with the senator, and I’m a middle stream kind of guy. They called and said they were running behind and I told them I’d be here whenever they could meet.”
Monger said he knew the Democrats were planning something at Carl’s but he said the protest never came up during his meeting with Gardner.
“We talked about the health care act,” Monger said. “I told him about Routt County’s concerns, especially about expanded Medicaid and how much of a benefit it’s been for Routt County.
“I also told him ‘you guys have to get something out there about what you guys are doing, let us know what’s really going on,” Monger said, referencing the fact that Gardner was one of 13 U.S. senators who crafted the Senate health care bill.
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