Five cited in of­fice protest

Demon­stra­tors tried to hold sit-in at Gardner of­fice.

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Danika Wor­thing­ton

Five pro­test­ers were cited Thurs­day while at­tempt­ing to hold a sit-in at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s Den­ver of­fice to urge a “no” vote on the Se­nate health care bill.

The sit-in by the Demo­cratic So­cial­ists of Amer­ica was one of many held by the group na­tion­wide tar­get­ing Repub­li­can sen­a­tors. In Den­ver, 12 pro­test­ers en­tered the build­ing’s lobby in the af­ter­noon for a sit-in. Gardner’s staff in­vited five up­stairs and fa­cil­i­tated a phone call with the se­na­tor. After­ward, the group re­fused to leave un­til he vowed to vote no.

“Trump­care, which is a de facto re­peal of the Af­ford­able Care Act, would make uni­ver­sal health care very dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment in the near fu­ture,” DSA Den­ver spokesman Kristofer Dubbels said. “Cory Gardner’s re­fusal to hold any sort of fo­rum where the public can in­ter­act with him and hear our com­ments with him have es­sen­tially forced us to en­gage in ac­tions like this.”

Gardner, who was on a tour on the Western Slope, has not said how he in­tends to vote on the bill. He told pro­test­ers he would not make a com­mit­ment on a dis­cus­sion draft that has not been opened to a vote yet; in­stead, he was keep­ing an open mind, ac­cord­ing to a tran­script pro­vided by DSA Den­ver.

“Af­ter speak­ing with Sen. Gardner, his health care pol­icy staff and his state di­rec­tor, sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als from Demo­crat So­cial­ists of Amer­ica still re­fused to leave our of­fice space af­ter the build­ing and our of­fice closed,” said Alex Si­cil­iano, a spokesman for Gardner.

“We are re­quired to re­move the in­di­vid­u­als from our of­fice af­ter it closes so we had to re­quest po­lice to peace­fully re­move them,” he con­tin­ued. “The top pri­or­ity is al­ways go­ing to be to al­low th­ese in­di­vid­u­als to ex­er­cise their First Amend­ment rights in a safe en­vi­ron­ment.’’

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