Letter: About GOP fundraiser
April 29, 2017
Protesters demanding a town hall meeting with Sen. Gardner were the subject of a Post Independent article the day after the Garfield County Republican Freedom Dinner. The pictures used in the story were evidence that the message was wrong about the senator's appearance, claiming that he had been paid to be our special guest at the event.
This was promoted by the Facebook event page that used an edited invitation without the disclaimer at the bottom stating that the fundraiser was for the local Republican Party and not Sen. Gardner. With a small budget, the party depends upon dignitaries taking time away from their families to help us raise the funds we need to help our candidates in our local elections. Sen. Gardner was not compensated in any way, and in fact, purchased tickets to attend the event and was not reimbursed for travel expenses.
This was clearly not a town hall event. It was our private event to socialize and raise funds for our party. With the Berkeley protests so fresh in mind and the potential for violence, and the fact that both our local protest and the Berkeley protest involved the "Indivisible" group, we had no choice but to hire security for our event, and we felt we would have been negligent without security for the safety of our guests as well as the protesters. We still had protesters trying to find their way into the event and one person who took one of our name tags for guests, another who tried to accost the senator, as witnessed by our security team.
In spite of this, we fully believe that the protesters had every right to gather peacefully just as we had every right to have our event free of interference and disruption.
We do not, however, believe that a confrontational approach is productive for any group demanding an action and will probably even make the possibility for such action they purport to want even less likely. It would be refreshing to have people, once again, go through the proper channels and exercise civility to achieve their aims.
Chair, Garfield County Republicans