Harriet Hageman: Wyoming in a Post-Coronavirus World

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Column by Harriet Hageman

Affordable food, affordable housing, and affordable energy – the “three-legged stool” of our prosperity in this country, and Wyoming has all three.

Considering the national panic over what was just three weeks ago termed the “Wuhan Coronavirus” but has since been rebranded out of political correctness to “COVID-19,” we should be spending this time assessing not only our immediate response but looking long term at where we will be one year from now, five years from now, and in the distant future. 

This is not the time to panic or to talk about the history of the Cold War – it is the time to figure out how Wyoming fits into the larger picture – and focus upon the opportunities for which we seem to be especially well situated.

We have heard much in the news about monetary packages coming out of Washington D.C. as we brace for the immediate, intermediate, and long-term financial fallout from something that came to our shores without warning or welcome. 

This catastrophe has exposed the fact that we have exported many of our most important manufacturing capabilities to hostile countries that do not have our best interests at heart and who will propagandize throughout a disaster while blaming us for their failures. 

We as a country need to rethink what our future holds if we are unable to pivot away from this failing business model for the benefit of ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. 

I suggest that Wyoming seek a portion of the federal money to develop and/or update a robust and accurate inventory of all warehouses, plants, and buildings that could be retrofitted for manufacturing or distribution centers in the near future. 

We need to focus on getting the word out that Wyoming is open for business – that we have the facilities, the infrastructure, and the skilled workforce to meet the needs of a variety of industries if they are willing to relocate here. 

We have the space, we have the amenities, we have the climate, and we have the people to help companies not only succeed but to thrive. 

All of this will help us to diversify our economy in the long run.  These opportunities will be ours only if we are willing to pursue them at this moment in time.  

While we have been offshoring our industries and jobs, our own neighboring states have blocked Wyoming from accessing foreign markets to sell clean coal and actually improving air quality for millions of people around the world. 

One of the best uses of the stimulus money and federal authority would be to stop those unconstitutional acts, and to ensure that Wyoming is on equal footing under the Interstate Commerce Clause so that we can build upon our mining industry here to serve not only our domestic markets but foreign demand as well. 

A stimulus package will only work if it provides real benefits to real people in the long run.  Exporting coal provides long-term benefit to all of us. 

Which brings me to my final point.  If there was EVER a time when Wyoming should be aggressively marketing the need for affordable energy, it is now. 

We have tolerated the lies associated with the alleged benefits of the “green new deal,” making nary a peep about the financial and personal devastation that such policies would wreak on our society. 

We have talked about the need to find other sources of revenue to support our growing state government, none of which can replace our minerals.  We have stood by and watched as our coal and oil and gas industries have slid ever further behind.  

If there is anything that this crisis has exposed for everyone is that without affordable energy you don’t run hospitals, you don’t have jobs, you don’t have airline industries, you don’t have trucks to deliver food and toilet paper, and you don’t any longer have a first world country. 

Wyoming needs to squelch this balderdash now.  If Wyoming isn’t willing to fight back against this nonsense I don’t know who will.  We need to be touting from the rooftops the fact that we are one of the top energy producers in the nation and could be for the world. 

We will continue to produce our liquid and black gold for the benefit of everyone and our country will be the stronger for it. 

The bottom line is this:  Our State is filled with compassionate people with common sense solutions.   We want to prevent misery, rolling blackouts and rationing. 

We want to make sure that all of our fellow citizens are warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and that they can feed their families with the food we produce using the energy that we create. We want our leaders to deal with this crisis by focusing on the correct long-term solutions rather than just growing government. 

Wyoming – we are open for business and ready to save the country.

P.S.  God Bless Our Truckers. 

Harriet Hageman was a Republican candidate for governor in 2018.

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