Time to heal and give thanks
I tend to write these types of letters to Wyoming citizens around once a year. They seem to have a consensus and generally surround one simple concept – getting along with one another.
Here is my pledge to you and every person in the state of Wyoming. Regardless of our differences, I will listen to you, hear your concerns, debate if needed, and continue to respect your opinions, as they are just as valid as mine. What I believe we need more of – this style of communication and less of the finger pointing.
The division in politics has grown significantly in my 8 years of public service in office. Eight years ago, the biggest choice that I had to make and defend was which mayor I was going to vote for – not a public policy issue. I went door to door, just like I do every year, and I spoke with thousands of people in Cheyenne. Very few of them, if any at all, felt identical and shared the same exact issues as the previous neighbor did.
So why am I telling you this story of my first campaign?
Simple, because people still care about what they want to care about, and they still care about their neighbor. It is time to put the weapons of words away and work for one another in the common spirit of Wyoming.
We have two factions of Republicans that have formed in recent years, the Freedom Caucus, and the Wyoming Caucus. They are made up of Republican’s and both have DULY ELECTED members elected by THEIR constituents. That is the critical part of this message. One voice cannot speak for all 500,000+ individuals in this state, on either side.
The people in Cheyenne have different priorities and problems facing them compared to those living in Lander or Meeteetse or even Gillette. Even in our own backyards, we have different issues facing different neighborhoods and county vs. city battles. It is time for Wyoming citizens to recognize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and we must learn to respect those opinions more than we currently do.
Between the Freedom Caucus and the Wyoming Caucus, there has been a large amount of blame and castigation utilized to attempt to draw Wyoming’s citizens to their side and draw support – I am not faultless in this discussion. What I have noticed in the past year or so, most Wyoming citizens don’t like the image that is starting to creep into Wyoming. We look like Washington DC. We act like we are busy fighting more than we showcase the good work that is being accomplished by both sides in our state.
We have far more to be thankful for than we must be critical of. As a Christian, it is my belief that we should give thanks to our Lord for what we have instead continuing to place blame on our brothers and sisters for what we don’t have or why they are the problem. We are all at fault and until we start to recognize that we have plenty to be thankful for. Our state will continue to degrade itself into the blame game and struggle to work through true Wyoming problems with true Wyoming Solutions.
Around 50% of the state tend to be Republican’s that have strong beliefs that are held in a very conservative ideology. Around 50% of Wyoming’s Republicans hold strong beliefs that align closer to the days of old – or Reagan style politics. That means we must work together for Wyoming to accomplish good policy – not just blaming others for what wasn’t done.
Let’s put the weapons away for a while. Let’s focus on what we can agree on and figure a way to accomplish those goals. Let us all stop bickering and fighting and be thankful that we live in such an amazing state and amazing country. Let’s stop letting national debates infect our daily life in Wyoming. Let’s take time to heal and give thanks.
Wyoming House District 9
Chairman, House Transportation, Highways, & Military Affairs Committee
Chairman, Select School Facilities Committee
Vice Chairman, Management Audit Committee
Member, Joint Education Committee