(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Remember last November?
I know, I know, a lot has happened since then — Katy Perry rode into the Super Bowl on a giant mechanical lion, James Inhofe tried to instigate a snowball fight on the U.S. Senate floor, and Peyton Manning turned 39.
Election season wasn’t too long ago, though. When campaign advertisements were absolutely everywhere, canvassers were showing up at your house, and flyers for this or that candidate were overwhelming recycling bins all over the country. It was a hectic time, to be sure, but one advertisement stands out: the now-infamous bit in which Cory Gardner, standing in front of a wind farm, claimed to be a new kind of Republican, one who was concerned with the future, preserving Colorado’s clean energy economy, and safeguarding the next generation.
For a new kind of Republican, he sure votes a lot like the old kind. In a recent series of votes on amendments to the 2016 budget resolution, Gardner voted against a key climate amendment that was sponsored by our other Senator, Michael Bennet. This was an acknowledgment that climate change is human-induced and would prepare federal agencies to prepare for it in a deficit-neutral way. The vote was far from party-line. No fewer than seven of Gardner’s Republican colleagues voted for it. Several of them hail from states that have historically shown less commitment to climate issues than Colorado has, such as South Carolina, Nevada, and Ohio, among others. This makes Gardner’s no vote even more baffling.
However, it is not time to discredit his election-season promises quite yet. He also voted against an amendment that would enable the sale or transfer of national public lands. He has shown an interest in protecting our natural areas in the past, and these votes are certainly heartening. It’s clear that he has the wisdom to recognize that Colorado’s public lands define us as a state, and threatening them would be a reckless and costly move.
But Gardner’s votes against common sense climate change issues (i.e., humans cause climate change so let’s do something about it) are a disservice to the millions of Coloradans who care deeply about our clean energy economy and combating climate change. Polls consistently show that Colorado stands firmly in support of action on climate, and Gardner’s votes should reflect that support.
It’s too early to issue a verdict on Senator Gardner’s term in office. He has only been our senator for a few months, but now does seem like a good time to remind him that he is in office in part because of his efforts to show Coloradans that he cares about clean energy and the next generation. Coloradans are still waiting for Cory Gardner to be the new kind of Republican he promised in the fall.