In this episode, we sit down with Colorado Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert, a small business owner and gun rights advocate. The oldest child in a family once dependent on welfare, she shares her story, her vision, and how she made it to where she is today.
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Lauren Boebert, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Lauren Boebert: Thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor to be here with you today.
Mr. Jekielek: To start, congratulations on your congressional win.
Mrs. Boebert: Thank you. It is an honor. I am the first woman and the first mom to have the opportunity to serve the people of Colorado’s 3rd congressional district. There was a lot of work that went into this victory, that’s for sure, but the connections that were made during the campaign, I believe that these are lifelong connections. I have made forever friends: the people who have put aside their lives, who have dedicated their time, days, weeks, months, a year of their life, for this vision. It’s incredible.
These are selfless, freedom-loving patriots, and I am just so honored to have them on my team. We’re always trying to figure out how we can do better for the people that we’re looking to represent, the people that we’re looking to serve, and how we can make America a better place.
Mr. Jekielek: I really want to find out about the vision that you were just mentioning. But before we do that, let’s cover the topic that’s on everybody’s mind, which is, of course, the U.S. presidential election which is being contested as you well know. There’s numerous what they call battleground states, where there are extensively hundreds of sworn affidavits of people alleging big irregularities, things that look like they might be fraud. What are your thoughts?
Mrs. Boebert: This is a contested election, and I believe that President Trump should fight with everything that he has and use all of the authority that he has as the President of the United States to make sure that we have a free and fair election. We need to be looking into these allegations; we need to be taking them seriously. I believe that President Trump has every legal right to do so, and I encourage him to do that. Our country really depends on this; our democracy depends on this; our Republic depends on this election, and no one will trust our election system ever again if we don’t fix it this time.
Mr. Jekielek: What do you think it would take for basically all Americans to feel like they can believe in the outcome?
Mrs. Boebert: Right now, we have more than 70 million people who have voted for President Trump who are questioning this, and I believe in these battleground states, we need to be looking into what’s being accused here. We need to be looking into what’s being alleged. We need to see if they were legal votes, how many votes were counted more than once, if the voter turnout was higher than the actual voter registration for those areas.
We have people who are making allegations, eyewitness testimonies. We have video footage. If you look at Georgia, there were suitcases that were pulled out from underneath the tables, brought in with ballots that are in there, and there are no election overseers, and these ballots were continued to be counted well into the night after so many of these election overseers were told to leave, that the counting was over.
It’s said that these voting machines can count up to 3000 ballots per hour, and this was done on at least three voting machines for at least two hours. That’s a lot of ballots that were counted there, and there was no oversight, and so we need to be getting to the bottom of this. We have video footage of this taking place.
I think the American people deserve for these cases to be heard and to be sent before judges, and if it needs to go to the House, then I think that we have that authority, and I believe that President Trump should use every bit of authority that he has to make sure that we have a free and fair election.
Mr. Jekielek: Tell me about this vision that your team, that you were just describing, is fighting for.
Mrs. Boebert: I’m a mom, I’m a small business owner, and I see the direction that our country is going. We are going toward socialism very quickly—our government is so large. When you have a government that is big enough to tell you that you are not essential, that small businesses are not essential, that you could not celebrate Thanksgiving with your family, that’s a government that is too big, and it’s a government that needs to be put in check.
We want small government, limited government, and big freedom. For at least two years, I’ve been watching, other women have been watching, we’ve been listening to these other four women who’ve been speaking a lot about our country. They’re part of “the squad,” and they have been promoting this socialist narrative in our country.
I believe that started something in America, started to stir the hearts of Americans, and now there are women who have stepped up and said, “They don’t represent me. They don’t represent the country that I love. They don’t represent my children and the country that I’m going to send them into.” So I wanted to take a stand to do my part, to serve my country, to secure the greatest nation this world has ever known, to secure freedom, to promote prosperity, and to keep the American dream alive. That’s what I’m here to fight for and I want to put an end to the socialist agenda. So this is me doing my part to serve my country, to do just that.
Mr. Jekielek: A year ago or maybe it’s a bit longer, I don’t know the exact timeline, you weren’t really even thinking about Congress very much. So what happened? How did this all play out?
Mrs. Boebert: I’ve never focused too much on government. I participated in elections. I was a Republican because there were some policies that I agreed with, but I really started getting frustrated with government overreach. In Colorado, we elected governor Jared Polis, and Colorado started turning deep blue. We didn’t like the direction that it was going, and we really wanted to put a stop to that and really motivate the base again to get involved and not be so lethargic when it came to these elections.
Governor Jared Polis passed the National Popular Vote [Interstate] Compact, and that’s the first time that I ever really got to work on any government issue. I spent months gathering signatures so we could get the National Popular Vote [Interstate] Compact in Colorado on the ballot so we could repeal it. Governor Jared Polis passed it, and we wanted to repeal it.
He stole our votes for president. He puts Colorado’s water at risk when he does that, and it enables coastal leaders to determine the outcome of presidential elections, so we wanted to put an end to that. I spent months and I gathered thousands of signatures, and I became Colorado’s second largest signature gatherer to get it on the ballot.
During that time, I saw that there were many Coloradans who were frustrated. They were frustrated at the direction our state was going, at the direction our country was going, the narrative of socialism that has taken over these past few years, and for me, it was dissatisfying to only complain about it.
I wanted to be a part of the solution. I wanted to put my hand to something and see this resolved. So I continued to get to know the people in my district, what can we do to help, and it just so happened that there was a presidential candidate who stepped a little bit too far. If you remember, Robert Francis O’Rourke told everyone exactly what Democrats plan to do with our Second Amendment rights. From a presidential debate stage, he said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” and I was already in this mode of, “It’s not enough to just complain.”
I was frustrated and I believe, as a Christian, that frustration leads you to be a part of the solution. So when he said that, and I didn’t see anyone else stopping him, I knew that I had to do something. So I got in my car, and I drove three hours to his presidential rally with my Glock on my hip, and I looked him in the eye and told him, “Hell no, you’re not.”
He wanted to take away my right to defend myself, to defend my children, to defend the people that are around me, because he doesn’t like guns. That wasn’t right to me and apparently, [that wasn’t right to] millions of others because I became a national rally cry for our Second Amendment rights, and I learned in that moment that I had a voice, and I needed to use that voice to stand for the Constitution and represent people on a higher level than ever before.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s actually very interesting. I remember reading about the 2016 presidential election, the one demographic that basically voted for President Trump was single issue voters, women, voting for the Second Amendment. I remember that. I thought that was really fascinating.
Of course, I think a lot of people know these days that you’re very passionate about [the Second Amendment]. You’re actually from Rifle, Colorado originally; you own Shooters Grill. Gun culture is a part of your life and probably has been for a long time. Tell me a little bit about why the Second Amendment and frankly, carrying a weapon is so important to you.
Mrs. Boebert: When we first opened my restaurant Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, we weren’t a gun themed restaurant. We were just Western themed. We wanted to give back to our community. I had been ministering to women at the Garfield County jail where I live for several years. I would go in there and I would promote freedom and personal responsibility to these women.
I would tell them that they didn’t have to live bound by their past mistakes, that they could have a successful future. I would teach them and show them the way, but then too often, I was seeing these women come back to jail, and it’s because they got out, and there weren’t any opportunities for them. No one would give them another chance.
That really stirred in me to do something for them, so I opened my restaurant and I began to offer them jobs, and I created opportunities for them. I brought them into my home where they lived with my family, and for me, it was far more powerful than any government program could ever be. I was giving them the ability to put their hand to something and create wealth, and so that was a big part, a big motivator of why we opened the restaurant.
But shortly after we opened, there was an altercation where a man was brutally beaten outside of my restaurant. He lost his life that night. The next day, that immediately prompted the question in me: How am I going to defend the people that are around me? How am I going to protect everyone? So that’s when I took advantage of Colorado’s open carry laws.
I had never carried a handgun around with me before then, but I knew that I needed a way to protect everyone. There were no weapons involved in the loss of this man’s life. He was beat to death with another man’s hands. I’m 5’0, I’m 100 pounds. I was at my restaurant alone a lot, early in the morning, late at night. I had young women that were working for me and I needed a way to protect them.
If we want to talk about empowering women, a firearm is the great equalizer. It helps us against a potential aggressor that is stronger than us. The Second Amendment isn’t there for only the strong, it actually benefits us who are weak and would have a way to defend ourselves.
With that, I started looking into gun laws, gun legislations. I began to go through training, and I saw how so many laws were just knee jerk reactions to situations that have taken place, especially like we see in Colorado. We had the Aurora theater shooting, and then right after that, we had a magazine ban, and these were just knee jerk reactions to try to solve a problem that it wasn’t going to fix.
The problem with trying to legislate the hearts of men, trying to legislate evil, is that you can’t legislate morality. It’s already illegal to go into a theater and open fire on defenseless victims. This isn’t going to stop the aggressor just by adding another bill, another limitation, on law abiding citizens.
Mr. Jekielek: For Colorado right now, I know that one of the big issues that you’ve actually talked about is wanting to avoid another lockdown related to coronavirus, or CCP virus as we call it at Epoch Times. Tell me about your thoughts on this, and what you’ve learned, and what you would advocate for.
Mrs. Boebert: We cannot afford any more lockdowns. In Colorado, they are threatening more lockdowns. There are some counties that have been mandated to shut down further. From the beginning of this, I believe that at first, government got it right. Government said: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, social distance, and just take care of yourself and use good hygiene. But government has gone too far in all of these mandates, all of these orders that are being pushed onto the American people.
In May, I went against Governor Jared Polis and I made the front page of the newspaper because I took a stand and I reopened my restaurant. I needed to make payroll. I didn’t participate in the [Paycheck] Protection Program. These are my employees, and I wanted to do everything that I could to take care of them and keep them paid.
In my restaurant, we had carry-out only, we had curbside pickup, delivery, and it wasn’t enough. We were not allowed to have customers inside my restaurant but yet big-box stores could have hundreds of people inside. I saw that government was choosing winners and losers, and so I took a stand and I reopened my restaurant.
It came at a price: I lost my license for about a week and I could not serve food for that time, but I never missed a payroll. The City of Rifle came in and they actually thanked me. They commended me for what I did because our county opened much sooner than we would have, because someone was pushing back on local government, and that’s really what it takes.
It takes we the people taking a stand against government overreach, to get them to stop, so I’m very proud to have done that. We ended up opening at 50 percent capacity, but even that, it’s killing small businesses. We still have 100 percent of our bills to pay. I get dozens of emails and calls every single day from people saying that they’re not going to make it, their business will not make it, even with the limited capacity and then of course the future shut down.
Mr. Jekielek: Of course, the sensible reason for these shutdowns is to protect people from the virus. Your thoughts?
I think that government can look at CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and then communicate those with the people. We can reopen responsibly; we can reopen safely. When I opened my restaurant in May, I followed CDC guidelines. I reopened responsibly and safely. No one was sick; no one came in; no one was forced to come in and visit us.
Mrs. Boebert: We did everything responsibly, and I believe that we can do that as a whole in the nation. We can’t just keep locking down our country. The economy is definitely suffering from that. We’re seeing it come back up, but another shutdown will be an economic suicide, and we can’t just keep depending on these blanket bailouts.
Mr. Jekielek: Just to go on this topic a little more, there is a bar in Staten Island right now that declared itself, because of being unable to open, an “autonomous zone,” stayed open, I think, for similar reasons to those that you described, and now the owner has been arrested, from what I understand. Might be difficult to implement everywhere, what you’re describing.
Mrs. Boebert: There may be consequences. In my case, I lost my food license for a week. There may be fines, there may be the loss of liquor licenses, there may be jail time, but I do believe that we the people have to take a stand or this will continue.
Mr. Jekielek: Another issue that you’ve been talking about is this issue of the Bureau of Land Management being actually moved to Grand Junction in Colorado and so forth. I understand you’re a proponent of that. Why, and [what are] concerns you may have?
Mrs. Boebert: First of all, I’m not a fan of many bureaus at all, if any at all. But we do have the Bureau of Land Management in Mesa County. There was a lot of work to get it moved there. We have more than 50 percent federal land in our district, and it only makes sense if we are going to have bureaucrats come in and tell us how to operate on our lands, it’s good for them to be there and see how we operate things, see what a tremendous job we do at taking care of our environment on the [Western] Slope of Colorado, rather than having some bureaucracy back in Washington, D.C. who never comes to Colorado, who doesn’t know the lay of the land, who doesn’t know the people and the work that they’re putting in to protect our environment and get good clean energy to the American people and across the world.
Mr. Jekielek: You’re in favor of keeping it in Colorado?
Mrs. Boebert: I absolutely want the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to remain in Mesa County. I believe that the people who are working in this agency need to be in Colorado and see exactly what’s going on in Western Colorado, to see how our workers are providing good environmental care for our land.
We don’t need bureaucracies in Washington, D.C. telling our people in Colorado how to operate. I actually spoke with Governor Jared Polis today about the Bureau of Land Management headquarters, and he was surprised to hear that a potential Biden administration would want to move the [Bureau of Land Management] back to Washington, D.C.
It sounds like he is in favor of keeping it in Mesa County, and it also sounds like the rest of the Colorado delegation would be in favor of that as well. So we are going to fight to keep the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Mesa County.
Mr. Jekielek: You grew up with pretty modest means. How did you get to your current view of the world?
Mrs. Boebert: I was raised in a Democrat household. My mom believed the lies of the Democrats. She believed in those failed policies. She had five children and she believed that the only way to take care of us successfully was through government assistance. She voted that way, because these are the people who said that they would take care of her, who would take care of me and my brother and we wouldn’t end up on the streets or living under a bridge.
But to me, it was very limiting. I know the struggles of depending on government for food and housing and health care, and it was a cycle of poverty that we were stuck in. There was no incentive for my mom to ever do better for herself to get out of that, because it risked losing everything, and she wasn’t prepared to do that. She had five children to take care of. That’s very scary to think that you won’t be able to feed your five children.
At 11 years old, I stood in line for bread and cheese. That is not America’s best. When we moved from the Denver area to the Western Slope of Colorado, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to us.
We moved into a community. For the first time, we were a part of something. We had neighbors that said “Hello” to us. We had a community around us that wanted to give people a hand up so they can have a successful life, rather than just directing us to the nearest local government building and instructing us on how to fill out a form to get help.
I got my first job at 15 years old. I did that so I could help my mom pay the bills. I’m so grateful for the owners of the fast food restaurant that I worked at for taking a risk and hiring me. They made an investment in me, and they developed skills that I didn’t know that I had. I was a young teenager with hardly any availability, and because they took that risk, I learned about work ethic.
I learned that I could put my hand at something and be successful. I can still remember bringing my mom home that first paycheck. I remember the pride, I remember the empowerment of giving that check to her, and that’s something that has never left me.
I learned from a very young age that I could do a better job taking care of myself than government ever could. I learned the freedom of just even the basics that we take for granted. I have four younger brothers, and at that time in my life, we were all sharing socks. Socks were a luxury in my home.
With my McDonald’s paychecks, I would go to Walmart and I would buy myself socks, and that brought me so much joy to just being able to provide little things for myself. I got little white ankle socks, and I made sure they had pink letters to let everybody know that these are not boy socks to be shared.
Mr. Jekielek: Have your mother’s political views at all changed since back in the day?
Mrs. Boebert: Yes, several times. When we actually moved to the Western Slope of Colorado, we were around a lot of conservative Republicans. My mom, when she went to change her address on her license, registered as a Republican. There were a lot of people working in the oil and gas industry who are Republicans and were telling her that this is how you should vote for these reasons.
But still, when she got to the ballot box, when she went behind the iron curtain, she voted Democrat. She struggled with that for a long time. She switched her affiliation to unaffiliated, and then back to Democrat. … After she had voted for President Barack Obama, she wrote in Hillary Clinton’s name [over] Barack Obama second term.
And then in 2016, she was really at a crossroad. I sat at the table with her, and I told her why I was voting for then candidate, Donald J. Trump. This is someone who wrote in Hillary Clinton’s name four years prior, and now she didn’t know who she was going to vote for. The woman that she wanted to vote for and have as her president four years ago was now on the ticket, and she could not bring herself to fill in that square.
She voted for Donald J. Trump, and from that moment on, she started looking at the Republican platform, Republican policies. I believe she fell in love with it. My mom is a registered Republican, she votes Republican, she’s enthusiastic, and she shares her views and her values in a very reasonable way that don’t degrade anyone or scare anyone away. She wants everyone to have the freedom to live their lives and not have government control everything that they do.
Mr. Jekielek: What do you think made that change, frankly? It’s very interesting.
Mrs. Boebert: I like to think that I made that change. There’s been many conversations that my mom and I have had about this. I wanted her to vote Republican, but she was so afraid because she had heard that the Republicans “were bad” and that this isn’t how she “should vote.”
So there are many conversations that she and I had, and it came down to what was right for our families and our future, and she saw this socialist pattern that the Democrats were going down, and the corruption that was being brought out during that time. She couldn’t bring herself to vote for that party anymore.
Mr. Jekielek: To finish up, you mentioned earlier that you’re happy to be working with the various new congressional members in Congress, especially ones that share opposition to socialist and communist policy and ideas. Tell me a bit more about what you intend to accomplish in this thing.
Mrs. Boebert: First of all, I’m so excited about the GOP freshman class. This entire class is so tremendous, I’ve had a great time getting to know them and connecting with them, and I’m excited to serve in the 117th Congress with them. I’m so proud that all across America, we actually elected a freshman GOP class that looks like America.
We have the record number [of] women in the GOP who are elected. We have minorities. It is incredible, the business owners and the veterans who are in this class, and it’s going to be an honor to serve with them. These are people who have laid their personal lives aside to do their part to serve their country, and I’m so proud to be with them, and really put a stop to the social agenda, to stand for the Constitution.
I am a member of the Freedom Caucus and it’s so encouraging to sit with people who are actually constitutionally minded. These members meet together and they debate the constitutionality of a bill before they ever vote on it, and to me, that is so encouraging.
You would think that all Congress would need to do that but it’s very obvious [with] the policies that we put forward that they don’t do that. So I’m excited to be a part of the Freedom Caucus, standing for the Constitution, standing for our basic fundamental values, freedom and liberty and prosperity.
Mr. Jekielek: Lauren Boebert, such a pleasure to have you on.
Mrs. Boebert: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been an honor. Thank you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.