Aug 27, 2021 - Politics
Democratic governor lends credibility to conservative event
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announces new public health orders in March 2020.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announces new public health orders in March 2020. Photo: Eric Lutzens/The Denver Post via Getty Images

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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