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Lauren Boebert

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Lauren Boebert
Official portrait, 2020
Official portrait, 2020
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
WebsiteCampaign website

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. A member of the Republican Party, she is the first woman to represent her district, which covers the western part of the state, in Congress.

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. Boebert has expressed support for the worldview espoused in QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory,[1][2] but later claimed she was not a follower of the theory.[3]

Early life

Boebert was born in Altamonte Springs, Florida on December 15, 1986.[4][5] 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.[6][7]

Boebert has said that her parents voted for Democrats[8][9] and that they lived in poverty in Denver, where her mother received welfare. By 2001, when Boebert was 14, her mother registered as a Republican.[10] Boebert credits her first job at 15 years old, at a McDonald's restaurant, for changing her views about whether government assistance is necessary.[6][11]

Boebert dropped out of high school her senior year (she would have graduated in 2004) because she had a child, and took a management role at a McDonald's in Rifle. She obtained her GED in 2020, about a month before her first election primary.[12] "I was a brand-new mom, and I had to make hard decisions on successfully raising my child, or getting to high school biology class. And I chose to take care of my child," she said.[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]

Business

Boebert at Shooters Grill

Boebert and her husband opened Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, 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.[15][16] The Boeberts also owned the Smokehouse 1776 restaurant across the street from Shooters Grill.[17] In 2015, they opened another restaurant, Putters, on the Rifle Creek Golf Course.[18]

In 2017, 80 people who had attended a Garfield County fair became ill from food poisoning. The Garfield County health department determined that pork sliders sold by unlicensed vendors Shooters Grill and Smokehouse 1776 were the source of the poisoning and that improper food safety practices were the cause.[17][19][6]

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."[20] 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.[21] She received a cease and desist order from Garfield County but said she would not close her business.[22] The next day she moved tables outside, onto the sidewalk, and in parking spaces.[23] The following day, Garfield County suspended her food license.[24] By late May, with the state allowing restaurants to reopen at 50% capacity, the county dropped its temporary restraining order.[25]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2020

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 incumbent Scott Tipton in the Republican primary.[26] During her campaign, Boebert criticized Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of "The Squad", positioning herself as a conservative alternative to Ocasio-Cortez.[27][28][29] 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.[27]

Boebert criticized Tipton's voting record, which she said did not reflect the 3rd district.[30] Before the primary, President Donald Trump endorsed Tipton. During the campaign, Boebert characterized Tipton as unsupportive of Trump.[27] 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.[31] 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.[32] In her campaign against Tipton, Boebert raised just over $150,000 through the June 30 primary.[33]

In a May 2020 interview on 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."[34][35][36][37] QAnon, which the FBI has classified as a domestic terrorism threat and which has been called a cult, is a far-right conspiracy network.[38][39] On July 6, 2020, 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".[3][40]

In what Politico described as a "stunning upset",[41] Boebert won the Republican nomination on June 30, 2020, with 54.6% of the vote.[42] She 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.[43][44] Boebert has pledged to join the Freedom Caucus when she takes her seat in the House.[30]

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".[43] In late July, Boebert was considered the front-runner.[6] 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.[45] On November 3, Boebert defeated Mitsch Bush, 51.27% to 45.41%. Boebert raised $2.4 million and Mitsch Bush $4.2 million.[46] Republican groups spent more than $5 million. Democratic groups spent nearly $4 million.[46] Boebert focused her general election campaign on gun rights, energy, and the Constitution.[47][48]

Tenure

On January 1, 2021, Boebert wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a letter that was signed by other members of Congress and members-elect, asking that the 1967 law that exempts members of Congress from a Capitol Hill ban on firearms remain in place, allowing them to continue to carry guns. In November 2020, Boebert said she intended to carry a firearm while working in Washington, D.C. She gathered the signatures of 82 other members, including Dan Crenshaw, Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Markwayne Mullin, and members-elect such as Victoria Spartz and Yvette Herrell. After Pelosi issued the new set of rules, the 1967 exemption remained in the House rules.[49]

On January 5, as Boebert was walking through the newly installed Capitol Hill metal detectors, they went off and she refused a bag check. She then 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."[50][51] 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."[52]

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."[53] On January 6, in the hours before the Capitol was attacked, Boebert tweeted, "Today is 1776," a reference to the American Revolutionary War.[54] 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."[55]

Democratic politicians accused Boebert and her colleague Doug Lamborn of "helping incite violence" during the January 6 storming of the United States Capitol.[56][57] 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.[58][59][60]

Boebert's communications director resigned on January 16 in response to the events on January 6.[61]

Committee assignments

Boebert has not been assigned committee assignments yet.[62]

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Budget

During her 2020 campaign, Boebert pledged that, if elected to the House, she will not support any federal budget that results in additional debt.[65] She supports a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[66] This commitment does not extend to tax rates.[67]

Education

Boebert has advocated eliminating the United States Department of Education.[68][65]

Electoral college

Boebert opposes the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would elect the president by popular vote.[15] Boebert has stated that she gathered the second-highest number of signatures in support of a proposed referendum to overturn a Colorado law that permitted the state to join the Compact.[41]

Energy

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).[69]

Environment

Boebert opposes the Green New Deal. She claimed that the plan would cost $93 trillion and lead to bankruptcy for the U.S.[70] This figure has been disputed.[71]

Gun rights

Boebert is a gun-rights advocate, and opposes expanding gun control regulations.[72]

In September 2019, Boebert became involved in gun-rights activism by challenging Beto O'Rourke at an Aurora town hall meeting during his 2020 presidential campaign over his proposal for a gun buyback program, saying, "I was one of the gun owning Americans who heard you speak regarding your 'Hell yes I'm going to take your AR-15s and AK-47s. Well, I'm here to say hell no you're not.'".[73] Later that month, she opposed a gun control measure at a meeting of the Aspen City Council.[74]

In November 2020, Boebert said she planned to carry a gun while working as a congresswoman on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.[14][75] In January 2021, she produced a viral digital ad proclaiming her right to carry a Glock on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and in the streets of D.C. The ad shows Boebert strapping a Glock to her hip before embarking on a walk through Capitol Hill, near federal buildings and through alleys.[76] She opposes Colorado's red flag law, which the Colorado General Assembly passed in 2019.[11][15] She was one of the organizers of the "We Will Not Comply!" rally in December 2019, at which the American Patriots Three Percent militia, affiliated with Three Percenters, provided security.[77]

Healthcare

Boebert has called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.[78] She does not support a single-payer healthcare system, saying it would put small businesses like hers out of business because of the prohibitive cost.[79]

Immigration

Boebert supports the construction of a Mexico–United States border wall and opposes giving amnesty to undocumented immigrants residing in the United States.[65]

Social issues

Boebert opposes abortion,[15] comprehensive sex education, and federal funding of Planned Parenthood.[15]

Personal life

Boebert and her husband Jayson live in Silt, Colorado.[80] Before they opened a restaurant, Jayson Boebert worked in oil and gas fields.[9] They have four sons.[15] Lauren Boebert became a born again Christian in 2009.[16] She gave birth to her third son on the way to the hospital in the front seat of their pickup while her husband was driving.[80]

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.[81] In 2015, she 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.[82] 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".[82] She twice failed to appear in court on the charge.[82] The petty offense was dismissed because the Mesa County district attorney's office believed a jury would not convict her.[82] In 2016, Boebert was cited for operating an unsafe vehicle; she pleaded guilty.[81][83]

On January 13, 2021, Twitter blocked Boebert's personal account until after January 20 because she had violated Twitter's rules.[84] Hours later, Twitter unblocked Boebert's account, saying its staff "took the incorrect enforcement action."[85]

Election results

U.S. House of Representatives

Colorado's 3rd congressional district Republican primary, 2020[86]
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[87]
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

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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
379th
Succeeded by
Carolyn Bourdeaux