Cory Gardner was born in Yuma, Colorado on 22 August 1974, and he graduated from Colorado State University in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He switched allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in college and worked at the Colorado State Capitol, becoming legislative director for Senator Wayne Allard. In 2005, he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, and he represented District 63 until 2011. From 2011 to 2015, he served in the US House of Representatives, and he made himself known as a rising star within the Republican Party. He supported fracking, a guest worker program, border security, increased protections for Native Americans, immigrants, and gays from violence, over-the-counter access to contraceptive pills, and supported the government's decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide (despite his personal opposition to it). In 2015, he entered the US Senate, and he criticized President Donald Trump's Muslim ban, saying that lawful residents of the USA should be allowed to enter the country. On 13 August 2017, Gardner again criticized Trump for his response to the murder of a protester by alt-right terrorist James Alex Fields Jr. at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as Trump accused both the protesters and counter-protesters of violence and refused to specifically condemn white supremacism. Gardner, who had supported Trump's "calling of evil by its name" while referring to Islamic terrorism, criticized Trump for not condemning white nationalism.