Some of the biggest and most deadly COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S. stemmed from the meatpacking industry. But Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) was reluctant to call for accountability, including when it came to a Colorado-based plant Gardner received donations from, Business Insider reports.
Early in the pandemic, meatpacking factories' close quarters became home to massive COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the country. An outbreak at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado led to at least 291 confirmed cases and six deaths — the biggest localized outbreak in the state. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) explicitly called for an investigation at the facility, as did a JBS employee union, which called out Gardner for failing to provide promised coronavirus tests for workers. But Gardner wouldn't discuss the situation with Business Insider, and similarly avoided questions about JBS in a local radio interview.
This cycle, his reelection campaign received more funds from JBS than any other member of Congress, with the exception of Rep. Josh Winegarner of Texas. Winegarner received a $10,000 donation from the company's political action committee, JBS USA LLC PAC, while Gardner has amassed $7,000 in donations so far.
Despite the company coming under mounting criticism for its lack of coronavirus protections following the biggest localized outbreak in Colorado — in addition to SEC and DOJ investigations into their Brazilian majority owners, according to court documents — Gardner's office and campaign refused to comment about the donation on the record.
In a local talk radio interview, Gardner was hesitant to say anything overly negative about JBS, and dodged a question on whether they were being straightforward with him about their record-setting outbreak.
Every time Gardner has been up for reelection since 2012, he has been in the top two for donations from members of the company and its affiliated PAC. His haul from the company now totals $24,000.
Meanwhile, John Hickenlooper (D. CO) is hitting Gardner on this:
The ad is one of the first in the country to invoke the fight over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s successor, underscoring how Democrats view the vacancy as a political winner in blue states, where the party base is furious at Republicans for moving forward to confirm a nominee and shift the Court even further to the right.
“Cory Gardner has taken no action to lower health care costs, lower prescription drug prices, rebuild our infrastructure, fight climate change or provide economic relief in this pandemic for five months,” says Hickenlooper in the ad. “But boy oh boy, Cory is ready to rush through a Supreme Court justice at lightning speed.”
“The next court will decide whether to rip up protections for people with pre-existing conditions, whether women still have a right to choose, and really what justice means in this country,” he adds.
Joe Biden’s campaign on Wednesday will seek to strike a contrast with President Donald Trump on the economy by highlighting the Democratic nominee’s commitment to helping small businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic.The campaign will initiate an advisory council on small businesses and entrepreneurship that includes the owner of a Miami empanada company, as well as former 2020 presidential candidates Andrew Yang and John Hickenlooper, who’s now running for Senate in Colorado.Biden’s team will also begin to broadcast a set of four ads across Arizona, North Carolina and Pennsylvania that feature owners who are struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. A pair of Washington Post-ABC polls of voters in Arizona and Florida published Wednesday underscored that Trump’s strongest issue remains the national economy, despite disapproval of his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also, this is cool:
Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews, Nathaniel Rateliff and other musical luminaries will come together Sept. 30 to shine a light on former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.
“Hick-a-Palooza,” as the virtual event is called, will feature performances from a string of acts that the Democratic former governor and Denver mayor booked to raise money for his fight against incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.
“While we might not be able to go to music festivals this year, on September 30th John Hickenlooper will bring together a variety of musical acts for a one-time virtual concert exclusively for campaign volunteers and supporters,” organizers wrote in a press statement.
Let’s keep up the momentum to keep Colorado Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Hickenlooper, Biden, and their fellow Colorado Democrats campaigns: