Lauren Boebert defended herself Tuesday against a claim that her origin story – growing up collecting welfare in a Democratic household while learning the Republican values of hard work at McDonald’s – was misleading.
In a visit to Durango, Boebert, The Republican candidate for 3rd Congressional District spoke Tuesday to the Southwest Republican Women at the DoubleTree hotel and gave an interview to The Durango Herald after the talk, which was held in the banquet room with 50 people allowed in to practice social distancing.
Boebert of Rifle faces Diane Mitsch Bush, a Steamboat Springs Democrat, in the race for the 3rd District, which covers Western Slope.
Earlier in the day, the political action committee Rural Colorado United sent journalists an email with documents from Garfield County indicating Boebert’s mother was registered Republican while Boebert grew up and noted that she never graduated from Rifle High School.
“We moved here in 2000. And my mom still voted Democrat. I don’t know about her party affiliation. I know that oil and gas was a huge influence. And so there could have been some influence there for her to register something, but my mom and I have spoken nearly every election season, and we’ve always argued about her votes,” Boebert said.
Rural Colorado United’s website says it was “taking the fight to congressional candidate Lauren Boebert and her extreme agenda.”
Boebert said, “So, I don’t really care what someone’s trying to dig up.”
Boebert she said she never claimed to have graduated from Rifle High School. “I went to my high school,” she said.
“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.
Boebert said she received her GED in April after completing a four-course review.
“I didn’t go through the typical education course,” she said. “I was a great student.... I loved being there, but I was starting my family and had different priorities.”
While in high school, she said she worked her way up the ranks at McDonald’s to become a manager. Under different circumstances, she said, she might have continued working at the fast-food outlet – a career that would have supported a family.
“Businesses like (McDonald’s) are so vital to communities, and to helping people not only get a start, but to provide jobs that people could actually stay connected to for the rest of their lives,” she said. “And they’re often overlooked, as you know, mediocre or lesser-than, but they’re opportunity-creators, and I’m just so grateful to have had that experience.”
Boebert said her hardscrabble upbringing in Florida, the Denver metro area and Rifle would add diversity in Congress.
Rural Colorado United’s claim came after revelations that a restaurant related to Boebert’s Shooters Grill served pork sliders that were responsible for sickening 80 people with diarrhea at the 2017 Rifle Rodeo. News organizations also have reported that Boebert had been arrested or issued a summons for several misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct at a country music concert and a dispute about dogs with a neighbor dating to 2010.
“I know me better than they do,” she told The Herald. “I wasn’t trying to hide anything. I don’t think people understand that. ... I’m not a polished politician trying to pretend to be something I’m not.”
Caleb Cade, communications director for Mitsch Bush’s campaign, said in an email Boebert’s arrests indicate “she thinks she’s above the law.”
“There’s a pattern of Lauren breaking the law to suit her own interests and a willingness to put public safety at risk – whether it’s holding an indoor fundraiser with no masks in Pitkin County for campaign checks or opening her restaurant in the middle of a pandemic. Not to mention poisoning 80 people with spoiled pork,” Cade said. “People are sick and tired of Washington because of people like Lauren Boebert who think the rules don’t apply to her.”
Boebert maintains she can draw on her past for a perspective few in Congress can offer.
“I wish more members of Congress had the life experiences that I’ve had,” she said. “I’m living the American dream. I came up from welfare, standing in line waiting for government cheese to now running for Congress.”