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Mariachi group derails Senator Gardner's private meeting - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Mariachi group derails Senator Gardner's private meeting

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A Mariachi group interrupts Senator Gardner's private meeting with the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. (KOAA) A Mariachi group interrupts Senator Gardner's private meeting with the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. (KOAA)
COLORADO SPRINGS -

A private meeting between the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Republican Senator Cory Gardner was derailed by protestors on Wednesday afternoon.

Many came forward to demand a town hall meeting from the senator.

Hoping to strike a chord with Senator Gardner, a mariachi group started to play in the back of his closed meeting with the chamber as he started to answer a question.

This is the moment that cut his meeting short.

"Our community has been writing letters, making calls and he's just not responding," Hilda Nucete, Program Director of a Latino engagement group called "Protegete" said.

Nucete says she's been trying to get the senator's attention for months now.

"We have had several opportunities that we have requested from his staff to have meetings with the Latino community and he has not really been responsive," she said.

In order to even get in the same room with the senator, this group paid $250 to become members of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

"How is that? How is that a senator that we pay taxes to represent us?" she said.

Her group supported by the Colorado Action Network, protesting outside of the resort, came to demand an in-person town hall that is open to everyone.

"Cory Gardner should be having town halls with his people not with special interest groups who pay an annual fee," Ron Eby, a protester said.

But Senator Gardner tells News 5, that's just not the case.

"We've held dozens of forms of town halls over the past many years, held a number of tele-town halls just in the past several weeks," he said. "I think we've had over 44,000 people who have participated in our tele-town halls."

He says this meeting with chamber members is part of his community outreach process in making sure all four corners of our state are being heard and represented fairly.

"I think far too often there are areas of Colorado that feel like they've been left behind and I want to be in the communities talking to as many people as I can to make sure that we're fighting for them," he said.

No promise of a face-to-face town hall was made but Gardner encouraged questions to go through his local office.

Aside from Wednesday's interruption, Gardner also touched on improving the state's transportation system, including I-25 on the north side of Colorado Springs to Denver, cyber security issues and jobs, as well as his pride in the new Supreme Court Justice.

Gardner will return to our nation's capitol next Monday.

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