Hundreds of Wyoming citizens showed up at the Capitol on Tuesday morning to attend the first day of the Legislature’s special session on President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate.
At least three buses filled with constituents from eastern Wyoming counties arrived in Cheyenne early Tuesday and the passengers quickly filled the galleries in both the House and Senate.
When capacity limits were reached, others were taken to overflow rooms on the main floor, which quickly reached near-capacity crowds as well.
The organizer of the event, Kristy Tyrney, said she put the gathering together after her health freedom advocacy group received many phone calls from individuals who were worried about losing their jobs because of the federal mandate.
“We were flooded with messages on a daily and weekly basis,” Tyrney told Cowboy State Daily. “Families all across the state afraid of losing their jobs and their livelihoods.
“There are a lot of people who are concerned that there hasn’t been enough research and want to wait for that before they consent to something,” she continued. “And we think that that choice should be respected.”
James Barth, a Laramie County resident who is also running for sheriff in next year’s election, said the main message of Tuesday’s rally was to let legislators know the importance of preserving constitutional freedoms.
“If somebody wishes to go get the vaccine, fine, we’ll get the vaccine, but it should never be forced under the Wyoming constitution and the United States Constitution,” Barth said.
If elected Laramie County Sheriff, Barth said he would “be there to support citizens’ freedoms and liberties.”
Critics of the special session have said it is a waste of time as federal vaccine rules have yet to be presented and because federal law supersedes state law, any attempt to block the administration’s mandate would be futile.
No matter, said the attendees. What’s important, they said, is to send a message that Wyoming won’t stand for it and ultimately victory could be achieved either through the legislative or judicial process.
“We gotta play the long game,” said Chris Robarge, who provided the audio/visual equipment for the rally. “There’s going to be fights in the courts so hopefully what we can do is slow the process down until we can get some national legislation to address it.”
Cheyenne resident Jeanette Leishman agreed that the debate over federal mandates will end up in court but there was another important reason to attend the rally — to keep an eye on their legislators.
“We’re watching how you’re voting because we will make sure that you are removed and someone else is voted in in your place if you choose to be tyrannical about medical choices for Wyoming,” she said.