Lauren Boebert

Lauren Opal Boebert (/ˈbbərt/ BOH-bərt; née Roberts, December 15, 1986) is an American politician, businesswoman, and gun-rights activist, serving as the U.S. Representative for Colorado's 3rd congressional district since 2021.

Lauren Boebert
Lauren Boebert 117th U.S Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byScott Tipton
Personal details
Born
Lauren Opal Roberts

(1986-12-15) December 15, 1986 (age 34)
Altamonte Springs, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (since 2007)
Democratic (2005–2007)
Spouse(s)
Jayson Boebert
(m. 2005)
Children4
Occupation
  • Politician
  • businesswoman
  • activist
WebsiteHouse website

Boebert owns Shooters Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, where staff members are encouraged to openly carry firearms. She ran as a Republican for Colorado's 3rd congressional district in 2020; Boebert defeated incumbent U.S. Representative Scott Tipton in the primary election and the Democratic nominee, former state Representative Diane Mitsch Bush, in the general election. She has close connections to militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.[1][2]

Early life and business career

Boebert was born in Altamonte Springs, Florida, on December 15, 1986.[3][4] When she was 12, she and her family moved to the Montbello neighborhood of Denver and later to Aurora, Colorado, before settling in Rifle, Colorado, in 2003.[5][6]

Boebert has said that she "grew up in a Democratic home"[7] and that her mother received welfare in Denver.[8] By 2001, when Boebert was 14, her mother registered as a Republican.[9] Boebert credits her first job at 15 years old, at a McDonald's restaurant, for changing her views about whether government assistance is necessary.[5][10]

Boebert dropped out of high school her senior year (she would have graduated in 2004) because she had a child, and took a job as an assistant manager at a McDonald's in Rifle.[11][12] She obtained her GED in 2020, about a month before her first election primary.[11][13] She later got a job filing for a natural gas drilling company and then became a pipeliner, a member of a team that builds and maintains pipelines and pumping stations.[14]

In 2015, Boebert was arrested in Mesa County for making a public disturbance at a musical festival. In 2016, she pleaded guilty to an unsafe vehicle charge after rolling her car into a ditch late at night. In 2017, her restaurant was responsible for over 80 cases of food poisoning at the Garfield County Rodeo after serving food without a license.[15]

Small business ownership

 
Boebert at Shooters Grill

Boebert and her husband opened Shooters Grill in Rifle, west of Glenwood Springs, in 2013. According to Boebert, she obtained a concealed carry permit after a person was assaulted in a nearby alley and began encouraging the restaurant's servers to open carry firearms.[16][17] The Washington Post rated Boebert’s story mostly false; a man had assaulted another man blocks away from the restaurant and, while running away from the scene, collapsed and died from a drug overdose.[18] The Boeberts also owned the since-closed Smokehouse 1776 restaurant across the street from Shooters Grill.[19][20] In 2015, they opened another restaurant, Putters, on the Rifle Creek Golf Course.[21]

In 2017, 80 people who attended a Garfield County fair became ill from food poisoning after eating pork sliders from a temporary location set up by Shooters Grill and Smokehouse 1776. They did not have the required permits to operate the temporary location, and the Garfield County health department determined that the outbreak was caused by unsafe food handling at the event.[19][22][5]

According to a profile in The Guardian, "Boebert made a name for herself after loudly protesting against the Democratic state governor Jared Polis's orders to close businesses to fight the coronavirus pandemic."[23] In mid-May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Boebert violated the state's stay-at-home order by reopening Shooters Grill for dine-in service.[24] She received a cease and desist order from Garfield County but said she would not close her business.[25] The next day she moved tables outside, onto the sidewalk, and in parking spaces.[26] The following day, Garfield County suspended her food license.[27] By late May, with the state allowing restaurants to reopen at 50% capacity, the county dropped its temporary restraining order.[28]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

 
Boebert speaking at Turning Point USA's December 2020 Student Action Summit in Palm Beach, Florida[29]

In September 2019, Boebert made national headlines when she confronted Beto O'Rourke, a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, at an Aurora town hall meeting over his proposal for a buy-back program and a ban on assault-style rifles like AR-15s.[30][31][12][32] Later that month, she opposed a measure banning guns in city-owned buildings at a meeting of the Aspen City Council.[33][32] The ordinance passed unanimously a month later.[34]

Boebert was an organizer of the December 2019 "We Will Not Comply!" rally opposing Colorado's red flag law that allows guns to be taken from people deemed a threat. The American Patriots Three Percent militia, affiliated with the Three Percenters, provided security, and members of the Proud Boys attended the rally.[35][36] On Twitter, Boebert has used rhetoric friendly to the Three Percenters.[37][38]

In December 2019, Boebert announced her candidacy for Colorado's 3rd congressional district of the United States House of Representatives in the 2020 elections, beginning with a challenge to five-term incumbent Scott Tipton in the Republican primary.[39] During her campaign, Boebert criticized Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of "The Squad", positioning herself as a conservative alternative to Ocasio-Cortez.[40][41][42] Seth Masket, a political science professor at the University of Denver, suggested that Boebert wanted to motivate Republican voters to participate in the primary during a slow election cycle by stirring up their anger at Ocasio-Cortez and others.[40]

Boebert criticized Tipton's voting record, which she said did not reflect the 3rd district. Before the primary, President Donald Trump endorsed Tipton.[43] During the campaign, Boebert characterized Tipton as unsupportive of Trump.[40] She accused Tipton of supporting amnesty for undocumented immigrants by voting for H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019, saying that the act has a provision that leads to citizenship and also provides funding to undocumented farm workers for housing.[44] Boebert criticized Tipton's efforts on funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, saying that he did not fight hard enough for more money for the program, which ran out of money within two weeks.[45] In her campaign against Tipton, Boebert raised just over $150,000 through the June 30 primary.[46]

In a May 2020 interview on SteelTruth, a QAnon-supporting web show, Boebert said she was "very familiar with" the conspiracy theory: "Everything I've heard of Q, I hope that this is real because it only means America is getting stronger and better."[47] QAnon, which the FBI has classified as a domestic terrorism threat and which has been called a cult, is a far-right conspiracy network.[48][49] Six days after winning the June 2020 Republican primary, Boebert said of QAnon, "I'm not a follower. QAnon is a lot of things to different people. I was very vague in what I said before. I'm not into conspiracies. I'm into freedom and the Constitution of the United States of America. I'm not a follower".[50][51]

In September 2019, Boebert aide and future campaign manager Sherrona Bishop published a video on her Facebook page in which she interviewed a self-proclaimed member of the neo-fascist Proud Boys group, which Bishop called "pro-everything that makes America great", adding "thank God for you guys and the Proud Boys". Bishop left the Boebert campaign shortly after Boebert won the Republican nomination in June 2020. In October 2020, the Boebert campaign denied any connection to the Proud Boys and said Boebert did not share Bishop's views.[52][53]

Primary election

On June 30, 2020, Boebert won the Republican nomination with 54.6% of the vote to Tipton's 45.4%.[54] The result gained national attention and surprised political commentators. Both CNN and Politico called it a "stunning upset";[32][55] The Hill made a similar statement.[56] Tipton conceded defeat on election night, and Trump congratulated Boebert in a tweet.[57] Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Cheri Bustos said in a statement that national Republicans should disavow Boebert for her support of QAnon.[55]

Boebert was the first primary challenger to defeat a sitting U.S. Representative in Colorado in 48 years, since Democratic Representative Wayne Aspinall lost to Alan Merson.[58][59] She pledged to join the Freedom Caucus upon taking office.[43]

General election

Boebert faced Democratic former state representative Diane Mitsch Bush, a retired sociology professor from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in the November general election. Boebert said that she believed Mitsch Bush's "platform is more government control" and that Mitsch Bush had a "socialist agenda".[58] In late July, Boebert was considered the front-runner.[5] A survey taken in September and paid for by Michael Bloomberg's Democratic-leaning House Majority PAC had Mitsch Bush ahead by one percentage point.[60] On November 3, Boebert defeated Mitsch Bush, 51.27% to 45.41%. Boebert raised $2.4 million and Mitsch Bush $4.2 million.[61] Republican groups spent more than $5 million. Democratic groups spent nearly $4 million.[61] Boebert focused her general election campaign on gun rights, energy, and the Constitution.[62][63]

Tenure

In March 2021, Boebert was one of 14 House Republicans, most of them members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus,[64] who—for unknown reasons—voted against a measure condemning the Myanmar coup d'état that passed overwhelmingly.[65][64]

Opposition to Capitol Hill firearms regulations

On January 1, 2021, Boebert asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a letter co-signed by more than 80 Republicans to uphold the 1967 law exempting members of Congress from a Capitol Hill ban on firearms, which allowed them to keep arms in their offices.[66]

Having said in November 2020 that she planned to carry a gun while working on Capitol Hill,[14][67] Boebert published a viral video advertisement on January 4, 2021, showing her placing a handgun in a hip holster and walking through Capitol Hill, near federal buildings and through alleys. Her spokesman later said that she had not been carrying a gun during the walk.[66] The video was made by the same consulting firm that produced the viral August 2020 campaign video for House candidate Kimberly Klacik.[68]

On January 5, Boebert refused a bag check after she set off the newly installed Capitol Hill metal detectors, and entered the Capitol. She did the same on January 6, refusing to stop for a wand check after she set off the metal detector. Boebert called the metal detectors "just another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi."[69][70] A New York Times profile of Boebert characterized her actions as "a made-for-Twitter moment that delighted the far right". The article said that although she had only been in Congress for a few days, she has "already arranged several episodes that showcased her brand of far-right defiance as a conspiracy theorist" and that she "represents an incoming faction of the party for whom breaking the rules—and gaining notoriety for doing it—is exactly the point."[71]

Role in storming of the Capitol

On January 5, the day before the storming of the United States Capitol, Boebert tweeted, "Remember these next 48 hours. These are some of the most important days in American history."[72] On January 6, in the hours before the Capitol was attacked, Boebert tweeted, "Today is 1776," a reference to the American Revolutionary War.[73] During the counting of the Electoral College votes, Boebert objected to counting Arizona's votes in a speech to the joint session of Congress. She said, "The members who stand here today and accept the results of this concentrated, coordinated, partisan effort by Democrats—where every fraudulent vote canceled out the vote of an honest American—have sided with the extremist left."[74]

Democratic politicians in Colorado accused Boebert and her colleague Doug Lamborn of "helping incite violence" during the January 6 storming of the United States Capitol.[75][76] While the Capitol was being stormed, Boebert posted information on Twitter about the police response and the location of members, including that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had left the chamber; she has faced calls to resign for endangering members' safety.[77][78][79] On January 13, 2021, Twitter blocked Boebert's account until after January 20 because she had violated Twitter's rules.[80] Hours later, Twitter unblocked Boebert's account, saying its staff "took the incorrect enforcement action."[81]

Boebert's communications director resigned on January 16 in response to the events of January 6.[82] Later that month, Parkland school shooting survivor and gun control activist David Hogg called Boebert and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene "threats" to the Capitol. Boebert responded by calling Hogg a "child", adding, "We all saw how tough you were when questioned face to face", in an apparent reference to a 2019 incident in which Greene confronted Hogg about gun rights and called him a "coward."[83][84][85] On January 19, 2021, San Francisco Giants owner Charles B. Johnson and his wife Ann Johnson asked Boebert to return their September 23, 2020, campaign contributions of $2,800 each.[86]

Conservative Political Action Conference attendance

In late February 2021, Boebert and a dozen other Republican House members skipped votes and enlisted others to vote for them, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while actually attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, which was held at the same time as their absences.[87] In response, the Campaign for Accountability, an ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics and requested an investigation into Boebert and the other lawmakers.[88]

Support for conspiracy theory

During a March 15, 2021, town hall in Montrose, Colorado, announced only to local Republicans who were asked to not disclose it publicly, Boebert was asked when Hillary Clinton and other former officials would be arrested, a recurring theme of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Boebert responded that she knew an individual involved with documents declassified by Trump during the closing days of his presidency, that the documents would reveal corruption and that "I believe we will see resignations begin to take place" that will allow Republicans to retake the House and Senate before 2022, echoing a theory promoted by The Epoch Times. Boebert added, "So anyone who tries and tells you that this is a fringe newspaper, don’t listen to them. I have very good sources that tell me this is very good information."[89][90][91] She also appeared to defend the January 6 attackers on the Capitol, saying, "We already see in Washington, D.C. You can’t petition your government. You’re an insurrectionist if you do that!", but later claimed that her remarks were "in reference to the ongoing security measures in place around the Capitol complex".[92]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Boebert is a gun-rights advocate and opposes expanding gun control regulations.[97] She opposes Colorado's red flag law, which the Colorado General Assembly passed in 2019.[10][16]

Boebert opposes coronavirus restrictions[24] and supports repealing the Affordable Care Act.[98] She opposes a single-payer healthcare system, saying it would put small businesses like hers out of business because of the prohibitive cost.[99] She also opposes abortion,[16] comprehensive sex education, and federal funding of Planned Parenthood.[16]

During her 2020 campaign, Boebert pledged that she would not support any federal budget that resulted in additional debt[31] and that she would support a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[100] This commitment does not extend to tax rates.[101] She supports eliminating the U.S. Department of Education.[31] She opposes the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would elect the president by popular vote.[16]

Boebert supports an "all-of-above energy" policy, which refers to developing and using a combination of resources to meet energy demand. The resources would include nonrenewable resources (e.g., crude oil) and renewable resources (e.g., solar).[102] She opposes the Green New Deal, claiming that the plan would cost $93 trillion, a figure disputed by Factcheck.org,[103] and lead to bankruptcy for the U.S.[104]

Boebert supports the construction of a Mexico–United States border wall and opposes giving amnesty to undocumented immigrants residing in the United States.[31]

Since 2014, Boebert has on multiple occasions—including while speaking on the House floor—said she was motivated to carry a gun after a man was beaten to death outside her restaurant in 2013. Police initially investigated the incident as a possible homicide, but determined the man had been involved in an altercation blocks away before running to within a block of Boebert's restaurant and collapsing from what an autopsy determined was methamphetamine intoxication.[105][106][107]

Personal life

Since becoming a public figure, Boebert has told reporters that her parents divorced when she still lived in Altamonte Springs. But no father is listed on her birth certificate, nor are there records of such a divorce in Seminole County. Boebert's mother filed multiple paternity suits between 1987 and 1990 alleging that pro wrestler Stan Lane is Boebert's father. A paternity test Lane took in 1990 ruled him out as the father, and the suit was dismissed. In 2012 Boebert's mother sent the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation a letter asking for further investigation, but there is no record that the bureau took any action. A Twitter account attributed to Boebert's mother and comments attributed to Boebert and her mother on YouTube videos and blog posts between 2008 and 2013 continued to allege that Lane is Boebert's father and argue with an account attributed to Lane's wife, Maria.[108]

Boebert and her husband Jayson live in Silt, Colorado.[109] Before they opened a restaurant, Jayson Boebert worked in oil and gas fields.[7] They have four sons.[16] She became a born-again Christian in 2009.[17]

In 2010, Boebert's neighbors called police because they believed her pit bulls were threatening their dogs. Boebert received a ticket for dog code violations.[110]

In 2015, Boebert was cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct at a music festival for telling officers that their arrest of a couple of underage drinkers was unconstitutional because the teenagers had not received Miranda warnings. As she was being handcuffed, according to deputies' reports, Boebert tried to twist away from police, saying that "she had friends at Fox News" and that the arrest would be "national news". She twice failed to appear in court on the charge. The petty offense was dismissed because the Mesa County district attorney's office believed a jury would not convict her.[111]

In 2016, Boebert was cited for operating an unsafe vehicle; she pleaded guilty.[110][112]

Election results

U.S. House of Representatives

Colorado's 3rd congressional district Republican primary, 2020[113]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lauren Boebert 58,674 54.6
Republican Scott Tipton (incumbent) 48,799 45.4
Total votes 107,473 100%
Colorado's 3rd congressional district, 2020[114]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lauren Boebert 215,279 51.27
Democratic Diane Mitsch Bush 190,695 45.41
Libertarian John Keil 9,841 2.34
Unity Critter Milton 4,104 0.98
Total votes 419,919 100.0

References

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External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Scott Tipton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 3rd congressional district

2021–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Stephanie Bice
United States representatives by seniority
376th
Succeeded by
Carolyn Bourdeaux