Incoming Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, an anti-big government Republican who previously defied local shutdown orders, said she’s finding a creative way to bypass Colorado‘s Thanksgiving gathering restrictions by having a “funeral” for a dead turkey.
“In Colorado, Thanksgiving is limited to 10 people, but funerals are limited to 30,” Boebert told Fox News in a recent interview in Washington, D.C., during congressional orientation. “So I’m going to have a peaceful funeral for a turkey and have about 30 people at my house.”
Reached Wednesday, Boebert confirmed her “funeral” plans for Thanksgiving but also quipped that her guest limit should actually be allowed to increase since she’s added two more dead animals to the menu, a pig and a duck.
Boebert, the owner of a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colo., called Shooters Grill, said the government’s job is to inform the public of coronavirus risks and then let individuals exercise their own personal responsibility. She’s been an outspoken critic of shutdown restrictions that she says have devastated small businesses and families while allowing big-box retailers like Walmart to thrive.
During the early days of shutdown, Boebert, a 33-year-old wife and mother of four sons, said she tapped the family’s savings to make payroll and avoid layoffs at her restaurant, which has gained famed for the waitstaff openly carrying their firearms. But in order to survive, she eventually defied coronavirus lockdown rules this May by reopening her restaurant – a decision that cost her a temporary suspension of her food license.
Garfield County, where Boebert lives, is currently under “Level Orange – High Risk” coronavirus restrictions based on the virus caseload and hospitalization rate of infected patients. The restrictions mean that public and private gatherings are limited to 10 individuals from no more than two households. But gathering size can be bigger for houses of worship and life rites such as weddings, funerals and baptisms, which are capped at 25% of the posted occupancy limit and can’t exceed 50 people – a bit higher than what Boebert had initially projected.
Boebert, a Second Amendment enthusiast and President Trump backer, says the government should not be messing with the holidays.
“A government that is big enough to shut down your Thanksgiving dinner is a government that’s too big,” Boebert said.
Boebert has made headlines for pushing back on government and famously confronting former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke over his comments on confiscating guns like AR-15s. “I am here to say: Hell, no, you’re not,” Boebert said in a viral moment last year.
Boebert routinely wears a Glock pistol on her hip in Colorado and intends to apply for a permit in Washington to carry a concealed handgun as a congresswoman. She wants to meet with the Capitol Police chief to talk about carrying her gun throughout the Capitol complex and potentially bypass certain restrictions. While Capitol Police are trained to protect the Capitol grounds, Boebert – at 5 feet tall and 100 pounds – said she’s concerned about the times she’ll be walking alone.
“I’m not walking around with security. I am the security,” Boebert said. “So I’ll carry in my office. I know that it’s OK for members to carry there and I am going to set up a meeting with the Capitol [Police] chief and talk to him about further options to carry. … If there aren’t enough provisions there to make sure that I feel like I’m safe and not disarmed, then I may try to make some amendments to the rules in Congress.”
She’s concerned she may be a “target” in Washington D.C. and wants to ensure her safety.
“D.C. is increasingly dangerous, right now – especially [with] the politics surrounding D.C.,” Boebert said. “People are going to know who I am, and I think that just kind of makes for a larger target. And so I want to make sure that I’m able to defend myself.”
Boebert, a first-time candidate, beat five-term Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in the primary election and defeated Democrat Diane Mitsch on Nov. 3 to become the first woman and mom to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
The campaign was personal, with her past run-ins with the law for traffic issues, disorderly conduct and failure to show up to court on full display. An anti-Boebert group even plastered billboards with her mugshot in the district. Boebert also caught heat for remarks in support of QAnon. She’s since distanced herself from the far-right conspiracy theory. “I’m not a follower,” she said.
Boebert has had an untraditional path to the halls of Congress. Growing up poor and relying on government welfare, Boebert said she got her first break landing a job at the Rifle McDonald’s in high school and learning the value of a paycheck.
She said she dropped out of high school to take a management role at the fast-food restaurant, which she said was critical in her ability to provide for her first son. Her husband works in the oil and gas fields and eventually, Boebert joined the energy industry too. She said she got a job filing for a natural gas drilling company and then became a pipeliner.
With her husband’s income stable, Boebert dipped out of the workforce for a bit to raise her young sons. She said she rediscovered her Christian faith at New Creation Church in Glenwood Springs and got involved in Bible studies and ministering to women at the Garfield County Jail with a message that they didn’t need to be bound by their past mistakes.
She opened the restaurant in 2013 and credits her faith for taking on opportunities and challenges that have come her way. “I learned to have limitless thinking from reading the Bible,” Boebert said.
Boebert said she earned her GED and but didn’t go on to college. She embraces her outsider story and said Congress should be a citizen-led body and could use the perspective of someone like her.
“To me, one of the most important things is remaining real in this place full of tucked-in shirts and ties and suit jackets,” Boebert said.
“I’m coming outside of the box to rip the lid open,” Boebert added. “I’m not coming in to jump inside the box with them. … I’m not here to grow government. I’m here to shrink government.”