Rep. Cory Gardner chosen to give GOP weekly address

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Congressman Cory Gardner, a Republican challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall this fall, wrote a letter urging Gov. John Hickenlooper to take action to allow Coloradans to keep healthcare policies that have been changed or cancelled as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

DENVER — First-term Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner has been chosen to give the weekly Republican address on Saturday.

It’s another sign that Gardner, R-Yuma, is thought of highly by GOP leadership and being groomed for a higher public profile and potential leadership role in the future.

Gardner, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, plans to focus on rising gas prices in his short address, which will be broadcast live from Denver Saturday morning.

It’s part of a larger GOP offensive aimed at pinning the spike in gas prices on President Barack Obama.

“Gas and energy prices are a big concern for every American household today, and they have been a top concern of mine since the day I was sworn-in,” Gardner said in a statement to FOX31 Denver.

“Choosing someone from Colorado to deliver the Republican response this week is a natural fit because of our abundant energy resources, and we recognize that over-abundant rules and regulations make it difficult to access those resources.

“In order to combat rising costs at the pump, we must responsibly utilize the energy available in Colorado and throughout the United States, which will ultimately lead to more jobs, lower gas costs, and less dependence on foreign oil.”

Democrats attack Gardner for hob-nobbing with lobbyists

Democrats, meanwhile, are focusing on a recent investigation by CBS News that’s raising Gardner’s national profile in a less flattering way.

The report highlights a recent trip by 12 freshman GOP congressmen, Gardner included, to the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. where big donors and lobbyists shelled out big bucks to go fishing with and be wined and dined alongside them.

In the CBS News piece, Gardner is shown wearing sunglasses and flip flops — video that’s juxtaposed with his 2010 campaign ad in which he said, “I will always put Colorado families before the Washington special interests.”

Gardner’s spokesman responded with a statement to FOX31 Denver.

“Congressman Gardner has held countless meetings in both his district offices and capitol office with constituents, 64 town hall meetings that have been open to every constituent, and responded to 60,829 constituent letters since he was elected,” said Chris Hansen, Gardner’s chief of staff.

“He will continue to serve the constituents of the 4th Congressional District in a straightforward and open manner. Any suggestion to the contrary is not based in fact.”