The Steamboat Institute will open its annual freedom festival today with speakers who:
- Encouraged the mob that led an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
- Campaigned against COVID-19 public health orders.
- Pushed for taxing nonprofits and cutting pay for public officials as a way to boost the economy.
One additional featured speaker: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat.
Why it matters: The governor's appearance lends credibility to a conservative organization that is working against the state's public health agency by furthering vaccine hesitancy and stirring opposition to local officials who backed mask mandates.
What's happening: The Steamboat Institute's conference Friday and Saturday in Beaver Creek is expected to draw 370 people. No masks or vaccines are required to attend.
- The keynote speaker is former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
- The organization is connected to the conservative State Policy Network and works to promote limited government and free-market policies.
What they're saying: Polis spokesperson Conor Cahill said in a statement that the governor "is focused on meeting people where they are at."
The intrigue: Polis will take the stage Friday afternoon, shortly after U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Rifle Republican and prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump who parroted calls for a revolution on Jan. 6.
- The governor is featured on a panel about "unleashing prosperity" with Art Laffer, a Republican economist who suggested the pay cuts for government officials and argued against the federal pandemic aid package touted by Polis and Democrats.
- Polis plans to talk at the conference about his advocacy for tax cuts and infrastructure investments, Cahill said.
Of note: At age 13, Polis served as an intern for Laffer and still considers him an adviser.
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