Gardner postpones Pueblo town hall to survey hurricane damage in Puerto Rico

Author: Joey Bunch - October 5, 2017 - Updated: October 6, 2017

Gardner Puerto RicoMarine One carrying President Donald Trump surveys areas impacted by Hurricane Maria Tuesday off the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A day after Sen. Cory Gardner announced plans for a town hall meeting Friday in Pueblo, he announced the town hall is on hold.

The White House asked the Republican senator from Yuma to be part of a bipartisan delegation of House and Senate members to go to Puerto Rico Saturday to view the hurricane devastation. The lawmakers will be joined by officials from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department.

The Pueblo town hall will be rescheduled soon, Gardner’s office said. His constituents, in the meantime, can follow his social media posts and sign up for his newsletter, the office said in the advisory.

Puerto Rico was pummeled by Hurricane Maria on Sept. 20, and the federal government’s response has been a lightning rod of controversy for President Bush.

The White House has sent mixed signals on a bail out the Puerto Rico’s $75 billion in debt, which has caused the island’s bond rating to plummet, crippling its ability to borrow money as it faces a massive rebuilding effort. After a war of words (well, tweets) criticizing Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan who had publicly pleaded for more help, Trump visited the island on Tuesday, where he met with local officials and praised first-responders.

Gardner also needs to stay in Washington Friday because of the Senate Budget Committee’s hearing on budget resolutions and hear briefings on the devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Gardner’s office said.

“While on the American island, Gardner and his colleagues will be surveying damaged areas, and meeting with Puerto Rican Governor Rico Rossello, US Coast Guard and local officials,” Gardner’s office said in a media advisory Thursday morning. “As chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy, Gardner has been a bipartisan leader in the Senate in calling for the Department of Energy to help restore power to the island. More than 90 percent of the island is still without power.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.