Five cited in office protest
Demonstrators tried to hold sit-in at Gardner office.
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.’’