Lauren Opal Boebert (/ˈbbərt/ BOH-bərt; née Roberts, December 15, 1986) is an American politician, businesswoman, and gun-rights activist. A member of the Republican Party, she has served as the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district since 2021.

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. She has close connections to militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.[1][2]

Early life and business career

Boebert was born in Altamonte Springs, Florida, on December 15, 1986.[3][4] 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.[5][6]

Boebert has said that she “grew up in a Democratic home”[7] and that her mother received welfare in Denver.[8] By 2001, when Boebert was 14, her mother registered as a Republican.[9] Boebert credits her first job at 15 years old, at a McDonald’s restaurant, for changing her views about whether government assistance is necessary.[5][10]

Boebert dropped out of high school during her senior year (she would have graduated in 2004) because she had a child, and took a job as an assistant manager at a McDonald’s in Rifle.[11][12] 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.[13] She obtained her GED in 2020, about a month before her first election primary.[11][14]

In 2015, Boebert was arrested in Mesa County for making a public disturbance at a music festival. In 2016, she pleaded guilty to an unsafe vehicle charge after rolling her car into a ditch late at night. In 2017, her restaurant was responsible for over 80 cases of food poisoning at the Garfield County Rodeo after serving food without a license.[15]

Small business ownership

Boebert at Shooters Grill

Boebert and her husband opened Shooters Grill in Rifle, west of Glenwood Springs, in 2013. Boebert claims she obtained a concealed carry permit after a man was “beat to death by another man’s hands … outside of [her] restaurant”, and began encouraging the restaurant’s servers to open carry firearms.[16][17][18] The claim about the man was false: in 2013, a man who had reportedly engaged in a fight blocks away ran to within about a block of Boebert’s restaurant and collapsed and died from a methamphetamine overdose.[18][19]

The Boeberts also owned the since-closed Smokehouse 1776 restaurant across the street from Shooters Grill.[20][21] In 2015, Boebert opened Putters restaurant on Rifle Creek Golf Course.[22] She sold it in December 2016.[23]

In 2017, 80 people who attended a Garfield County fair became ill from food poisoning after eating pork sliders from a temporary location set up by Shooters Grill and Smokehouse 1776. They did not have the required permits to operate the temporary location, and the Garfield County health department determined that the outbreak was caused by unsafe food handling at the event.[20][24][5]

According to 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.”[25] 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.[26] She received a cease and desist order from Garfield County but said she would not close her business.[27] The next day she moved tables outside, onto the sidewalk, and in parking spaces.[28] The following day, Garfield County suspended her food license.[29] By late May, with the state allowing restaurants to reopen at 50% capacity, the county dropped its temporary restraining order.[30]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

Boebert speaking at Turning Point USA‘s December 2020 Student Action Summit in Palm Beach, Florida[31]

Boebert with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in 2021

In September 2019, Boebert made national headlines when she confronted Beto O’Rourke, a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, at an Aurora town hall meeting over his proposal for a buy-back program and a ban on assault-style rifles like AR-15s.[32][33][12][34] Later that month, she opposed a measure banning guns in city-owned buildings at a meeting of the Aspen City Council.[35][34] The ordinance passed unanimously a month later.[36]

Boebert was an organizer of the December 2019 “We Will Not Comply!” rally opposing Colorado’s red flag law that allows guns to be taken from people deemed a threat. The American Patriots Three Percent militia, affiliated with the Three Percenters, provided security, and members of the Proud Boys attended the rally.[37][38] On Twitter, Boebert has used rhetoric friendly to the Three Percenters and deleted a 2019 tweet in which she posed with members of the group after being asked about it. She tweeted “I am the militia” during her congressional campaign.[39][40]

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 five-term incumbent Scott Tipton in the Republican primary.[41] During her campaign, Boebert criticized Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of “The Squad“, positioning herself as a conservative alternative to Ocasio-Cortez.[42][43][44] 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.[42]

Boebert criticized Tipton’s voting record, which she said did not reflect the 3rd district. Before the primary, President Donald Trump endorsed Tipton.[45] During the campaign, Boebert characterized Tipton as unsupportive of Trump.[42] 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.[46] 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.[47] In her campaign against Tipton, Boebert raised just over $150,000 through the June 30 primary.[48]

In a May 2020 interview on SteelTruth, 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.”[49][50][51][52][53] QAnon, which the FBI has classified as a domestic terrorism threat and which has been called a cult, is a far-right conspiracy network.[54][55] Six days after winning the June 2020 Republican primary, 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.”[56][57]

In September 2019, Boebert aide and future campaign manager Sherrona Bishop published a video on her Facebook page in which she interviewed a self-proclaimed member of the white nationalist group Proud Boys, which Bishop called “pro-everything that makes America great”, adding “thank God for you guys and the Proud Boys”. Bishop left the Boebert campaign shortly after Boebert won the Republican nomination in June 2020. In October 2020, the Boebert campaign denied any connection to the Proud Boys and said Boebert did not share Bishop’s views.[58][59]

2020 primary election

On June 30, 2020, Boebert won the Republican nomination with 54.6% of the vote to Tipton’s 45.4%.[60] The result gained national attention and surprised political commentators. Both CNN and Politico called it a “stunning upset”;[34][61] The Hill made a similar statement.[62] Tipton conceded defeat on election night, and Trump congratulated Boebert in a tweet.[63] Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Cheri Bustos said in a statement that national Republicans should disavow Boebert for her support of QAnon.[61]

Boebert 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.[64][65] She pledged to join the Freedom Caucus upon taking office.[45]

2020 general election

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”.[64] In late July, Boebert was considered the front-runner.[5] 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.[66] On November 3, Boebert defeated Mitsch Bush, 51.27% to 45.41%. Boebert raised $2.4 million and Mitsch Bush $4.2 million.[67] Republican groups spent more than $5 million. Democratic groups spent nearly $4 million.[67] Boebert focused her general election campaign on gun rights, energy, and the Constitution.[68][69]

Boebert reimbursed herself $22,259 for mileage costs in 2020 from her campaign’s finances, which legally would require her to have driven 38,712 miles (62,300 km). The Denver Post reported in early February 2021 that three ethics experts said that the high figure was suspicious. Boebert’s campaign attributed the figure to Boebert’s “aggressive travel schedule”, but members of her campaign did not provide evidence for the amount of travel.[70] CPR News calculated that it was plausible that Boebert had driven 30,000 miles based on her visits to 129 events.[71] Boebert said in a mid-February interview that she “drove tens of thousands of miles … I had to make those connections, and really, I underreported a lot of stuff.”[72] In late February 2021, Boebert’s campaign updated its campaign finance filing, reclassifying $3,053 claimed for mileage to “hotels”, and $867 claimed for mileage to Uber rides, thus claiming a mileage of around 30,000 miles.[72]

Despite campaign finance laws and ethics laws requiring Congressional candidates to reveal their immediate family’s income sources to show potential conflicts of interest, Boebert did not report her husband’s income in her 2020 filing, instead belatedly revealing it in August 2021,[73] the same day the Federal Election Commission sent her a letter investigating her campaign expenses.[74] The filing, while misnaming the company involved, stated that her husband Jayson earned $460,000 in 2019 and $478,000 in 2020 as a consultant for Terra Energy, one of Colorado’s largest natural gas producers and fourth nationwide in methane emissions.[73][75] The company told The Daily Beast that Jayson was a contracted shift worker for the company who was not paid directly but through another company, Boebert Consulting.[76] As of 2021, Colorado classified Boebert Consulting as a delinquent company due to the lack of filings or registered agent with the state.[74] Boebert oversees the energy industry via her position on the House Committee on Natural Resources.[76]

2022 campaign

In August 2021, the FEC investigated the apparent use of more than $6,000 of funds from Boebert’s 2022 reelection campaign for Boebert’s personal expenses.[77] The funds were used between May 2021 and June 2021 via four Venmo payments.[77] Boebert’s communications director said that these were indeed personal expenses, “billed to the campaign account in error”, and that the “reimbursement has already happened”.[77] In September 2021, Boebert submitted documents to the FEC declaring that the campaign money had been used to settle rental and utilities bills, and had since been reimbursed.[78]

Tenure

In March 2021, Boebert was one of 14 House Republicans, most of them members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus,[79] who voted against a measure condemning the Myanmar coup d’état that passed overwhelmingly.[80][79]

In June 2021, the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant was first detected in Colorado in Mesa County, in Boebert’s congressional district. As the variant spread to make up 50% of Mesa County’s COVID-19 cases, Boebert’s Twitter account posted: “The easiest way to make the Delta variant go away is to turn off CNN. And vote Republican.” The tweet was quickly deleted amid public criticism.[81][82]

Opposition to Capitol Hill firearms regulations

On January 1, 2021, Boebert asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a letter co-signed by more than 80 Republicans to uphold the 1967 law exempting members of Congress from a Capitol Hill ban on firearms, which allowed them to keep arms in their offices.[83]

Having said in November 2020 that she planned to carry a gun while working on Capitol Hill,[13][84] Boebert published a viral video advertisement on January 4, 2021, showing her placing a handgun in a hip holster and walking through Capitol Hill, near federal buildings and through alleys. Her spokesman later said that she had not been carrying a gun during the walk.[83] The video was made by the same consulting firm that produced the viral August 2020 campaign video for House candidate Kimberly Klacik.[85]

On January 5, Boebert refused a bag check after she set off the newly installed Capitol Hill metal detectors, and 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”.[86][87] 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.”[88]

Role in 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.”[89] On January 6, in the hours before the Capitol was attacked, Boebert tweeted, “Today is 1776,” a reference to the American Revolutionary War.[90] 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.”[91]

On the morning of January 6, Boebert said during a House floor speech, “Madam Speaker, I have constituents outside this building right now.”[92] Numerous members and associates of Three Percenters and similar far-right groups were subsequently indicted on conspiracy charges for involvement in the attack.[93][94]

Democratic politicians in Colorado accused Boebert and her colleague Doug Lamborn of “helping incite violence” during the storming of the Capitol.[95][96] While the Capitol was being stormed, Boebert posted information on Twitter about the police response and pinpointed the location of other members, including that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had left the chamber. She faced calls to resign for endangering members’ safety.[97][98][99] On January 13, 2021, Twitter blocked Boebert’s account until after January 20 because she had violated Twitter’s rules.[100] Hours later, Twitter unblocked Boebert’s account, saying its staff “took the incorrect enforcement action”.[101]

Boebert’s communications director resigned on January 16 in response to the events of January 6.[102]

In June 2021, Boebert was one of 21 House Republicans to vote against a resolution to give the Congressional Gold Medal to police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol.[103]

Conservative Political Action Conference attendance

In late February 2021, Boebert and a dozen other Republican House members skipped votes and enlisted others to vote for them, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while actually attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, which was held at the same time as their absences.[104] In response, the Campaign for Accountability, an ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics and requested an investigation into Boebert and the other lawmakers.[105]

Support for conspiracy theories

During a March 15, 2021, town hall in Montrose, Colorado, announced only to local Republicans who were asked to not disclose it publicly, Boebert was asked when Hillary Clinton and other former officials would be arrested, a recurring theme of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Boebert responded that she knew an individual involved with documents declassified by Trump during the closing days of his presidency, that the documents would reveal corruption and that “I believe we will see resignations begin to take place” that will allow Republicans to retake the House and Senate before 2022, echoing a theory promoted by The Epoch Times. Boebert added, “So anyone who tries and tells you that this is a fringe newspaper, don’t listen to them. I have very good sources that tell me this is very good information.”[106][107][108] She also appeared to defend the January 6 attackers on the Capitol, saying, “We already see in Washington, D.C. You can’t petition your government. You’re an insurrectionist if you do that!” She later claimed that her remarks were “in reference to the ongoing security measures in place around the Capitol complex”.[109]

Foreign policy

In June 2021, Boebert was one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the authorization of military force against Iraq.[110][111]

In July 2021, Boebert voted against the bipartisan ALLIES Act, which would increase by 8,000 the number of special immigrant visas for Afghan allies of the U.S. military during its invasion of Afghanistan, while also reducing some application requirements that caused long application backlogs; the bill passed the House 407–16.[112] In August 2021, after the Afghan government fell to the Taliban, Boebert tweeted: “The Taliban are the only people building back better”, reusing Biden’s “Build Back Better” slogan.[113][114]

In September 2021, Boebert was among 75 House Republicans to vote against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022, which contains a provision that would require women to be drafted.[115][116]

Energy industry

Boebert has supported the energy industry.[73] In December 2020, she declared support for uranium extraction.[74] In February 2021, she proposed a bill to ban executive moratoriums on oil and gas leasing and permitting on certain federal land.[74]

Agriculture, forestry, and land issues

Boebert, who represents a primarily rural district, has introduced legislation in the House to keep the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado.[117] She has also introduced a forest management bill, the Active Forest Management, Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act, which would attempt to prevent wildfires through several mitigation measures, such as removing trees killed by bark beetles, making it harder for groups to go to court to stop forest thinning, and requiring the United States Forest Service to harvest six billion board feet of lumber annually.[118][119]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Boebert is a gun-rights advocate and opposes expanding gun control regulations.[124] She opposes Colorado’s red flag law, which the Colorado General Assembly passed in 2019.[10][16]

Boebert opposes COVID-19 restrictions[26] and supports repealing the Affordable Care Act.[125] She opposes a single-payer healthcare system, saying it would put small businesses like hers out of business because of the prohibitive cost.[126] She also opposes abortion,[16] comprehensive sex education, and federal funding of Planned Parenthood.[16]

Boerbert opposes the Equality Act, saying it promotes “supremacy of gays”,[127][128] and writes on her campaign website that she is against “efforts to redefine marriage as anything other than the union of one man and one woman”.[129]

During her 2020 campaign, Boebert pledged that she would not support any federal budget that resulted in additional debt[33] and that she would support a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[130] This commitment does not extend to tax rates.[131] She supports eliminating the U.S. Department of Education.[33] She opposes the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would elect the president by popular vote.[16]

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 power).[132]

She opposes the Green New Deal, claiming that the plan would cost $93 trillion and lead to bankruptcy for the U.S.;[133] a figure disputed by Factcheck.org.[134]

Boebert supports the construction of a Mexico–United States border wall and opposes giving amnesty to undocumented immigrants residing in the United States.[33]

Personal life

Boebert and her husband Jayson live in Silt, Colorado.[135] Before they opened a restaurant, Jayson Boebert worked in oil and gas fields, a sector he still consults in.[7][136] They have four sons.[16] She became a born-again Christian in 2009.[17]

In 2015, Boebert 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. 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”. She twice failed to appear in court on the charge. The petty offense was dismissed because the Mesa County district attorney‘s office believed a jury would not convict her.[137]

In 2016, Boebert was cited for careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle. On February 13, 2017, she was arrested and booked in Garfield County Jail for failure to appear in court on these charges. She pleaded guilty to the unsafe vehicle charge.[138][139]

Electoral history

2020 Colorado’s 3rd congressional district Republican primary[140]
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanLauren Boebert58,67454.6
RepublicanScott Tipton (incumbent)48,79945.4
Total votes107,473 100%
2020 Colorado’s 3rd congressional district[141]
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanLauren Boebert215,27951.27
DemocraticDiane Mitsch Bush190,69545.41
LibertarianJohn Keil9,8412.34
UnityCritter Milton4,1040.98
Total votes419,919 100.0

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External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

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

United States representatives by seniority
375th
Succeeded by