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Gardner not committing to in-person town hall anytime soon

DENVER -- For weeks, protests in Denver have taken place regarding town halls and whether or not elected officials in Washington will hold them.

Few are on the schedule, with many leaders out of the country. 

Perhaps the one politician in the hot seat the most is U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. Gardner is Colorado's lone Republican voice in the U.S. Senate and with Republicans in charge, protests have erupted over his lack of town halls.

Outside the Renaissance Hotel in Stapleton on Wednesday, there were more protests -- this time with Gardner inside.

After Gardner spoke to farmers at the Governor's Agriculture Forum, he took questions where he committed to do no future in-person town halls, instead committing to telephone town halls.

Here is text of the full exchange:

St. George: As you know, there’s been protests outside your office. There’s a protest outside this hotel, people wondering, during this week of recess, why aren’t you hosting a town hall?

Gardner: Well look, we’ve had a number of opportunities to engage with a number of Coloradans around the state. And we’ll continue to do that, whether it’s through this opportunity to visit with the Governor’s Agriculture Forum. I just spoke at the Colorado Space Coalition. I was out at Fort Morgan and Burlington earlier this week. We’ll be in northern Colorado (on Wednesday) and (Thursday). And so it’s a great opportunity to hear from Coloradans, and I appreciate the people who are expressing their points of view, whether they support what the President has done or whether they oppose what the president has done, it is very good to hear what’s going on.

St. George: But no town hall? Will you commit to doing a town hall sometime in the future?

Gardner: In my time in Congress, we’ve held over 100 town halls. Last year, we were across all 64 counties in the state. We’ve met with protesters. My office has met with protesters. We’ll continue to do that. We’ll hold a number of tele-town halls in the future. And I hope that people will go onto our website and join them.

St. George: Is a tele-town hall a way to avoid that confrontation, because as you know, some of these town halls are getting heated. Is that why people like yourself are choosing telephone town halls?

Gardner: Well, I think it’s a great opportunity to reach people across the state. And we try to do it as often as we can. We do it at different times in the day. Sometimes we do it in the morning. Sometimes we do it at night, just depending on when people are able to answer the phone. That’s why we want to vary the time of day that we do this at. And we can reach out to more people. We take positive questions. We take negative questions. We take them all. It’s a great way to hear what’s on people’s minds. In addition to the many meetings we’ve held with people across Colorado. The office outreach that we’ve had. The time to meet with protesters throughout the state, individually at these forums as well. It’s very important.

St. George: So as of right now, no plans to hold a town hall?

Gardner: Look, we’ve had a number of tele-town hall opportunities. We’ve had a number of opportunities to go to open forums.

St. George: But no in-person town halls?

Gardner: We’re going to continue working on meetings where we can meet people across the state. That’s what we’re doing today. That’s what we’re doing tomorrow. We’ll continue doing it throughout the week.