Cat Urbigkit: Questioning Republican Candidates

Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: "There I was, all excited that the Wyoming GOP had sent out an email with substance (rather than its usual forwarding of links to The Epoch Times). What the document accomplishes is the need to strengthen our states educational system."

Cat Urbigkit

July 12, 20225 min read

Cat Urbigkit

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There I was, all excited that the Wyoming Republican Party had sent out an email with substance (rather than its usual forwarding of links to The Epoch Times, apparently the party’s trusted news source). The email included a link to contact information for Republican candidates for office – a great tool. To top it off, the party had kindly provided “Candidate Forum Questions” to help voters “engage and vet candidates.”

What the 7-page document accomplishes is to demonstrate the need to strengthen our state’s educational system. I won’t go into the numerous grammatical gaffes, but it’s worth mentioning the insistent use of a possessive apostrophe in referencing the “United States’ Constitution,” “United States’ Supreme Court,” “United States’ military,” and “United States’ Congress.” The consistency of its use indicates that it’s no mistake but is some sort of weird political statement of possession.

Some of the GOP’s questions are indeed helpful, such as those requesting candidate’s views on important duties, issues and beliefs, and requesting details about qualifications and experience for elected office. Others are targeted at learning a candidate’s views on current issues, such as abortion or the legalization of marijuana. Others are worded oddly, such as:

“Do you support resource materials available to students without parental input?”
“Should elected officials be limited by nepotism laws?”
“Do you support limits to access for public lands?”
“Do you support the concept of systemic racism in the United States?”
“Do you support gambling as a tax-funding source?”
Under the section of questions about “Election, Campaigns, and Election Integrity” is the question, “Do you support public funds being invested in the stock market?”

Other questions reflect the GOP’s interest in turning back time, such as “Do you support the impeachment of former President Donald Trump?” “What is your overall opinion on delisting wolves?” and “Do you support returning to the gold standard government?”

Although the GOP questionnaire focuses on provisions of the U.S. Constitution, it’s notable that it neglects to mention the Wyoming Constitution even once. Successful candidates for political office in Wyoming pledge an oath to “support, obey and defend the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the state of Wyoming.”

And the Wyoming Constitution is magnificent in its clarity. Among its many provisions are declarations that “all members of the human race are equal,” “Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions,” and “Both male and female citizens of this state shall equally enjoy all civil, political and religious rights and privileges.”

No wonder the current GOP leadership prefers to ignore it, since it doesn’t align with their views. It’s worth a quick review of the actions of the current state party leadership.

Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne’s interest in seceding from the union, as reported in January 2021, apparently persists, with the GOP questionnaire asking, “Should the states be allowed to secede from the union?” The document neglects to mention that the Wyoming Constitution declares Wyoming as “an inseparable part of the federal union.”

Although Eathorne reportedly pledged last year that state secession “Won’t come up again unless the grass roots brings it up,” the fact that it’s included in the Wyoming GOP’s questionnaire demonstrates the party is still pursuing the unconstitutional idea. Perhaps Eathorne’s GOP needs reminded of the specifics in the Pledge of Allegiance recited at every GOP meeting – that “one nation, indivisible” pledge.

Just a reminder, it was Eathorne’s GOP that urged Wyoming’s congressional delegation on Jan. 2, 2021 to object to the Electoral College votes from six states, and Eathorne traveled to D.C. for the events of Jan. 6, but later claimed “no violence or property damage was observed during my time there including a brief stop in the vicinity of the Capitol building property”  – an allegation that has now been contested by evidence that he reportedly spent more than two hours on the property and saw the violence of that attack up close.

Under Eathorne’s leadership, the state party censures members for participating in non-partisan efforts, attempts to restrict the free speech of fellow Republicans, issued condemnations of certain elected officials but not the man who sent a hateful and obscene email  to an elected Republican legislator suggesting she kill herself. It’s Eathorne’s GOP that demonstrably and routinely lies to Wyoming Republicans and the public.

Perhaps the most revealing questions voters may ask of Republican candidates for political office are these:

• Do you support the current authoritarian tactics used by the leadership of the Wyoming Republican Party?
• Do you agree to support, obey, and defend the constitutions of Wyoming and the United States?

Cat Urbigkit is an author and rancher who lives on the range in Sublette County, Wyoming. Her column, Range Writing, appears weekly in Cowboy State Daily.

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Cat Urbigkit

Public Lands and Wildlife Columnist