Letter To The Editor: Ogden Driskill Needs To Show Respect

Mary Burman writes: "Senate President Driskill, please lead by example showing respect for well-meaning citizens who may not share your views, but want the best for Wyoming, just like you."

February 02, 20234 min read

Ogden Driskill 12 6 22

Dear Editor:

How ironic that the Senate President Ogden Driskill, who has been a strong advocate for “civility” in the Wyoming legislature, should write such a screed about Medicaid Expansion in Cowboy State Daily. He starts out that he is compelled to write this “since rehashing Medicaid expansion has apparently become an annual event for my colleagues”.

He goes on to bash the liberal media, Democrats, the Biden administration and those reprehensible RINOs. He concludes his column by saying, “I believe that if you’re going to support Medicaid expansion, voters should understand whose camp that puts you in. It is the Democrat version of the American Dream – cradle to grave government dependency for all, while that same government robs us of our means to earn a living here in Wyoming.”

Other than blaming others, he offers no policy solution to those people in our state who are uninsured that Medicaid expansion would address.

Back in the early winter, Senate President Driskill told the Cowboy State Daily that “he requested Wyoming state lawmakers he appointed to serve as chairs of top legislative committees to sign a pact that included a pre-written resignation letter should someone fall out of line during the upcoming session of the legislature”.

According to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, at the start of the session the President and House Speaker Albert Sommers indicated that one of their measures of success for this session is “centered around civility and lawmakers’ ability to work well with one another, even when they don’t agree on the issues.”

As a lifelong Democrat who born and raised in Wyoming, I find his description of Democrats offensive.

We can differ on the policy issues and the role of federal, state, and local governments, but like most Wyoming residents, I want healthy communities that support our families with good schools, health care and jobs, plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities, and a strong economy.

And I realize that this vision of Wyoming requires all of us in Wyoming to manage a lot of competing interests.

For example, support for public lands is high in our state because of our love of hiking, hunting, camping, boating and so on.

But those same public lands provide us with oil, gas and coal revenues that have long supported our state and provided much needed funding for our schools. How do we balance those demands to ensure we benefit from industrial use of our public lands without harming the outdoors we love so much?

Has Senate President Driskill so quickly forgotten his focus on civility? Bashing Democrats and RINOs (which constitutes a large percentage of Wyomingites) is hardly a way to build relationships and promote civility within the legislature and out in the state.

Frankly, I expect a lot more from someone in such a prominent leadership role in our legislature. He’s clearly against Medicaid Expansion, but rather than a tirade about liberal media, Democrats and RINOs, how about presenting a reasoned statement of why he doesn’t support expansion and a clear proposal for how to address the significant disparities in health care coverage that can lead to medical bankruptcy for families and to a less healthy workforce that harms our economy.

Our state faces many challenges and those elected or appointed to leadership positions, including the Senate President, are called to truly lead. So, Senate President Driskill, please lead by example showing respect for well-meaning citizens who may not share your views, but want the best for Wyoming, just like you. 


Mary E. Burman

Laramie, WY

Share this article