After unveiling a bill prohibiting the United States fron reentering into the Paris Climate Agreement without ratification from the U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) took to Twitter.
“I work for the people of Pueblo, not the people of Paris,” Boebert tweeted last Thursday.
Pueblo is a southeastern Colorado city of just over 112,000 residents with historic ties to the national steel industry and labor unions. While Pueblo was one of 12 counties in Colorado that Boebert lost in her victorious congressional race over Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush, the race in Pueblo County was still considerably close compared to other areas of Colorado’s Third Congressional District (CD-3), where Boebert trounced Bush.
The Paris Agreement Constitutional Treaty Act was one of the first three bills Boebert presented to Congress. The others were a bill to suspend funds to the World Health Organization and legislation that would overturn President Joe Biden’s mask mandate for federal buildings.
Boebert, an outspoken opponent of the Paris Agreement, which aims to curb global warming, said it was a “job-killing amendment” that increases the costs of energy.
“My bill prohibits Congress from spending a single penny on the Paris Agreement until this treaty is ratified by the United States Senate,” Boebert said in a news release. “Joe Biden took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. If he wants to keep it, he must transmit the job-killing Paris Agreement to the U.S. Senate for ratification.”
Colorado House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar was quick to challenge Boebert over her claims that the Paris Agreement Constitutional Treaty Act was in the best interest of areas like Pueblo.
“Pueblo is one of the nation’s leaders in renewable energy, and we are home to the largest wind tower factory in the world,” Esgar tweeted. “Renewable energy is actually one of the top (and growing) employment sectors in Pueblo.”
Former state Representative Bri Buentello, a Democrat from Pueblo, said Boebert’s claims to support the “people of Pueblo” are “disingenuous at best.”
“Absolutely none of these bills have anything to do with the price of steel at EVRAZ or the enrollment numbers at CSU-P, or the lack of ICU beds at Parkview Hospital,” Buentello told the Colorado Times Recorder. “Yet, there she is just parroting Ted Cruz’s talking points and threading in Pueblo like she is from here, like she knows what’s wrong, and like she knows what’s going on.”
While Boebert has a vocal opposition among Democrats in Pueblo, Pueblo County Republican Party Chairwoman Marla Reichert said Boebert has a strong following among Republicans in the area, particularly among those passionate about the Second Amendment (2A).
“Congresswoman Boebert is a fighter,” Reichert said. “I think that appeals to the people of Pueblo County. Pueblo County also successfully recalled a state senator who infringed on our 2A rights, so her passion on that issue resonates here. We have someone who will never waver on 2A in Congresswoman Boebert.”
Since 2013, Boebert has co-owned Shooter’s Grill, a restaurant where the waitstaff openly carry guns, in her hometown of Rifle, Colorado. In January of 2021, the freshman congresswoman released a video saying that she planned to open-carry while working in Congress.
“When it comes to our lawmakers, we need fewer Ivy League lawyers (no offense to my lawyer friends) and more ranchers, farmers, business owners, and people who have actually created jobs,” Reichert said. “We darn sure don’t need people showing off $20 pints of ice cream on TV like Nancy Pelosi did in this century’s ‘let them eat cake’ moment.”
Buentello worked as a special education teacher at Pueblo East High School before representing State House District 47, a largely rural district including parts of Pueblo, Fremont, and Otero counties. She challenges the notion that Boebert and the Republicans have a monopoly on rural voters.
“Rural voters, first of all, they are not monolithic, but two they are also not martians,” Buentello said. “Healthcare is too expensive; it’s too hard to get by. School’s out on the Mesa don’t have any air conditioning…. These aren’t rocket science issues.”
“Ultimately that is why I do believe CD-3 is not only a competitive race but indeed winnable for Democrats,” Buentello said. “If we put up a Democrat who understands rural issues, who has a track record of fighting for rural families, I really do think that will resonate with the voters of CD-3.”
Boebert will be up for reelection in 2022. Colorado Democratic Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) and Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Avon) are already exploring the possibility of running against Boebert in 2022, according to the Colorado Sun. Buentello said she will be “breaking her boots” to knock on doors and volunteer for whoever challenges Boebert.
As the Democrats prepare to battle for Boebert’s seat, Reichert says Pueblo Republican events are attracting newcomers who were previously Democrats or Unaffiliated.
“I noticed people who were walking away from the Democrats,” Reichert said. “There are so many people who are sick of politics as usual. They want someone they can relate to and people relate to Congresswoman Boebert. She is a mother of 4, a business owner, and she didn’t spend her life building a political resume.”
Less than a month into her tenure, Boebert has emerged as one of the most visible and polarizing figures in Congress. She has already faced allegations about potentially having aiding rioters in the Jan 6 storming of Capitol Hill. She wrote an angry letter to Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) denying that she gave a tour to any “outside group,” after he stated that he had seen her giving a tour to a group sometime between Jan. 3 and the insurrection on Jan. 6. Cohen never claimed that the people in the group were involved in the attack on the Capitol.
“Those allegations are spurious and reprehensible,” Reichert said. “The only tour she gave was to her family that was in D.C .for her swearing-in, just like many others did this year and in years before.”
Buentello said Boebert is guilty of “open acts of sedition,” noting Boebert’s “Today is 1776” tweet made the morning rioters stormed the Capitol.
“A group of armed protestors attempted to storm the U.S. government, seriously harm if not kill Vice President Pence and Speaker Pelosi,” Buentello said. “We can’t ignore that event. Everybody who participated in that needs to be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. I think it is important to say that there can be no unity without accountability.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized Rep. Steve Cohen’s statement about seeing Rep. Boebert giving a tour to a group of people as an allegation that she aided rioters.