"The Roundup" (A Cowboy State Daily Podcast) with Guest U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman

Tune in to our first episode of The Roundup, a podcast featuring voices, opinions, and perspectives from interesting people in the Cowboy State. Episode 1 features a conversation with Congresswoman Harriet Hageman.

WC
Wendy Corr

December 09, 202329 min read

ARTICLE
Watch on YouTube

Welcome to our first episode of The Roundup, a podcast featuring voices, opinions, and perspectives from interesting people in the Cowboy State.

Episode 1 features our conversation with Congresswoman Harriet Hageman.

(This transcript was computer-generated.)

Wendy Corr

Well, hello, and welcome to our very first Cowboy State Daily Podcast! Welcome to “The Roundup.” But of course the roundup doesn't just mean gathering cattle at a ranch. This means a gathering of ideas, a gathering of, of topics and issues that are important to everyone here in the Cowboy State. And we're thrilled to have as our very first guest on the Roundup, as representative Harriet Hageman, who has been, She's a freshman in our US Congress, but she is making her name known in Washington DC, which we're in Wyoming we're grateful for because, as you know, Harriet, you're a small town girl, you know what it's like to come from a small place into a much more a much larger arena. So Harriet, first off, let me say thank you for joining us on our inaugural podcast. But number two, tell us a little bit about you as a small town, Wyoming woman growing up on a ranch in outside Fort Laramie, you know all about the issues that are important to rural Wyoming. Tell us a little bit about your background.

Rep. Hageman 

Well, first of all, I want to say how honored I am that I get to be a part of your inaugural podcast. This is very exciting for me. Cowboy State Daily is a part of every day for me. It's one of the first things I read when I get up in the morning so that I know what is going on in Wyoming. And it's not only the current events in the weather and the photographs, but also to read the human interest stories. And I think that Cowboy State Daily is really doing a phenomenal job of describing what Wyoming is. And so I encourage other people I hope other people outside of Wyoming are paying attention to it because it does give us a slice of of Wyoming in our history. Yes, I grew up on a ranch outside of Fort Laramie. I still consider that area home. I live in Cheyenne with my husband, John. I have two granddaughters and I come from a very, very large family. In fact, my mother just turned 100 years old last Tuesday. And so over Thanksgiving, we celebrated her birthday with her. Our family is too large to really cook in a traditional kitchen anymore. So we had our dinner in the basement of the Methodist Church in Torrington had I think close to 60 people there with blended families and extended families and I have 12 nieces and nephews I have 20 Great nieces and nephews. We've had six new babies this year. A lot of them were there. So I got to spend time enjoying all of the young ones. And you know I am very excited about where I come from and my background. I grew up outside of Fort Laramie. I graduated from Lingle/Fort Laramie High School 37 kids in my class, went to Casper College on a livestock judging scholarship. And then I went to the University of Wyoming, where I received both my bachelor's degree in business and my law degree in 1989, was when I finally graduated from there, and I truly enjoyed my education have some long, long, long standing friends from the university and Casper College. And I think that it really colors my entire view of the world. Being from Wyoming and the kind of background that I had, I think that I'm so typical. For people who come from Wyoming, we have a great amount of respect and love for our state, we stay very engaged in terms of our community activities. When you come from a small community, you have to do that. You are if you're on the museum board, and you're on the school board, and you are in the legislature, and you're a county commissioner, and you're on the the local RTA and, and so I was just raised in a family where you participate and engage and deal with everything from weed and pest to some of the some of the more esoteric and more difficult issues on a national and international stage. So, you know, my background is why I am what I am. And that background is very Wyoming.

Wendy Corr  

So Harriet, tell me about how you have brought that background to Washington DC. I mean, it's a it's a shark tank there. And you have to really take that background, that small town background and bring it to this very much larger arena. How do you draw on your background when you're dealing with these national international issues?

Rep. Hageman 

It's a larger background, that people are people no matter where they come from, and the way that you engage with people is those I engage with people here the same way that I engaged with them in Fort Laramie, Casper, Jackson, Sheridan, in Evanston, it doesn't matter where it is. You're honest, you're up front. I guess sometimes I'm probably considered fairly blunt. People have a pretty good idea of where I stand on things, but I'm able to explain what it is and what I what I've think I've been able to bring back here is that a lot of people don't understand the West and they don't understand the challenges we face for a variety of reasons and what those challenges are. I guess I should I should be more specific in that an example is 48% of our surface estate and 65% of our mineral estate is owned by the federal government. If you come from Georgia, you don't know what that necessarily means in terms of your tax base, your ability to develop the challenges you have with housing and providing affordable housing, what you can do in terms of your communities. So one of the things that I've been able to do is bring that voice back here and work with people from Georgia and South Carolina and Nebraska, even even though they're a neighboring state, they don't have the kind of federal footprint that we do. So that's one of the ways in which I've been able to bring that but I think also, it's a matter of common sense. And I will say that I learned, when I've come back here, people were watching my race very closely, as you know, and because I was running against Liz Cheney, but I always said I was not running against Liz Cheney, I was running for Wyoming. And I have felt that since I've been here, my job is to represent Wyoming. I wasn't attempting to defeat any one person, I felt that I was the best person to come back here and have that voice for Wyoming. Because of my background, I think that I have been true to form in that regard. And I have been able to earn a reputation because of the way that I approach things such as the federal lands, such as trying to protect our legacy industries, our oil and gas companies, industry, our coal industry, our livestock industry, just today, the UN announced that they are going to pursue an agenda to try to reduce people's meat consumption because of the so called climate crisis, we need to bring common sense back to the debate that we're having. And we need to bring truth to the discussion, which is something that's been sorely missing in this entire climate crisis discussion. Kevin Kyllo, with Cowboy State Daily, I think he's one of the most brilliant writers and researchers on this particular topic. But the fact is, is that we have to bring a voice of what it means to be one of the largest energy producers in the nation, what we do for people in Georgia, California, New York, Connecticut, how we make their lives better. And that's really the voice that I have tried to be and I think that I've been successful at that because of my background.

Wendy Corr 

So let's talk specifically about some of these issues, in particular, the cattle industry, I know that you have been instrumental in trying to do some, like, for example, the E ID, the ear tag legislation that the USDA has, you've proposed an amendment to basically stop what they're trying to do with the electronic ID tags. Tell us tell us a little bit about that and other cattle industry issues that you've been that you've been addressing there.

Rep. Hageman 

So the USDA has been trying to do this for quite some time. And this is the way that the UN could actually implement a policy that is completely contrary to the freedoms and liberties that we're entitled to under our Constitution. And I'm just gonna give you an example of what's going on in Ireland and Ireland in 2022. They adopted an EIB mandate, an electric electronic identification mandate for cattle producers. Last month, or in July of this year, they announced that they're going to have to call 41,000 head of cattle by the end of this year, not because of a disease outbreak, although that's the way that they sell this and say we have to have mandatory ID so that we then have disease, traceability, but they're not killing 41,000. They're not slaughtering 41,000, head of cattle because of a disease outbreak. They're doing it because of the so called climate crisis, they can't implement a mandate like that they couldn't force those cattle producers to kill all their livestock, unless they knew how many they had. And the only way they know how many they have is if they have an electronic identification program in place. That's exactly what they're trying to do here. I've been fighting this for years, both as a private attorney, as well as as in my role as a Wyoming's representative. And here's the thing, if people want to use electronic identification, more power to them, they have every right to do that. But this should not be a mandate from USDA. And that's one of the keys is I really do believe in freedom and liberty and I believe in private property. So the ELD mandate is something that will be incredibly destructive to our cattle and bison industries. And it's why I'm fighting so hard against it and have a lot of groups in support of me, including a lot of Indian tribes who raised buffalo who do not want e ID at any ID mandate. Another area where I have brought my expertise and my knowledge back here is dealing with the Rock Springs RMP. But the resource management plan, as you all know, that was recently announced by the BLM and it affects 3.6 million acres in southwestern Wyoming. It's going to be absolutely devastating to our legacy industries to our trona industry. We're the largest trona producer in the nation. If this goes through, we're going to not be able to compete with China and Uzbekistan Kazakhstan, I guess it's causing it start as the other big one is going to substantially affect our grazing industry, our cattle industry, it's going to affect our oil and gas and our coal industries, that's going to affect our ability to recreate, they're trying to prevent us from even being able to take a bicycle out in the middle of nowhere in the red desert and ride a bicycle. I mean, this is draconian, this is it's well outside, what the BLM was created for it wasn't created to put millions upon millions of acres off limits to any kind of use and access. It was created to manage a resource at the time, because those lands had not necessarily gone into private property into private hands yet, under the Taylor Grazing Act, but now because of Tracy stone Manning, who's a radical environmentalists, this is the approach that the BLM is taking. So I've been pushing back very hard on that. In addition to which, under the under NEPA, and under the the Federal Land Management Policy Act, they were required to do a hard look at whatever alternative they were going to propose. Well, there's a retired gentleman from the BLM, who has reported that they never did that hard look, they never analyzed alternative B, which is what they're attempting to implement now. So I did an amendment to strip them of any funding to be able to implement the alternatives that they've identified in that RMP. So those are some things that I think are very important for the state of Wyoming for our cattle producers, for our industries, for our communities, pushing back against this federal overreach.

Wendy Corr   

Where do those, where does that amendment stand right now? Where is that bill in process?

Rep. Hageman 

So the RMP right now, the RMP they've extended the deadline to January for comments. I actually believe that the BLM not only extended the deadline, they're regrouping, and they're trying to figure out okay, what do we do now? Because they will be sued if they adopt alternative B. And I do believe that they will lose in court if they adopt alternative B, and I think they know that too. So that's one thing. But as far as that was an amendment to the Department of Interior appropriation, and we have passed that appropriations bill. So the house of the Republican controlled House of Representatives, we've passed seven appropriation bills, seven standalone appropriations bills that we have sent over to the Senate. They haven't yet taken that up. But that particular amendment is included in the DOI appropriations portion of it. So I'm actually very excited about that. We also in terms of the EIB, I'm trying to defend their ability to do that what Congress has is the power of the purse. And so I'm using the power of the person saying you cannot use any fun that we have funds that we appropriate to implement something that number one you're not entitled to implement. Number two, is going to be devastating to our livestock industry. So those are amendments that I continue to push forward with. And it may very well be that the EIB bill is a standalone bill. I'm not letting that go. Because, again, I'm watching what happened in Ireland. And another place where people can go look at what the outcome of this will be is, if you ever watch the show, Clarkson's farm, Jeremy Clarkson is from England. And he's the racecar driver. He's a pretty interesting guy, he's got a really funny sense of humor. Well, he bought a farm in England, and this series, and it's a couple of seasons. Now, I probably shouldn't be promoting this. But it's really funny, and it's fun to watch. But he has to have essentially a full time compliance officer work for him to comply with all of the regulations that the government in England poses against him. We're headed in that direction, if we don't get control of this federal government, and start pushing back against USDA and APHIS. And these federal agencies that want to regulate us out of existence.

Wendy Corr 

This is great stuff. And this is very good for our listeners and our readers to know about where all this is, is going and places we can go to look to see kind of what the potential future is in that way. I want to go back to something that you mentioned about tribal relations and about the end and and the tribal lands and bison grazing and things like that. Tell me about your work on the Tribal Affairs Committee, because we don't hear a lot about that. Tell me how it is that you manage to that you got a spot on that committee and what that means to you? Well, so

Rep. Hageman 

I'm on the Natural Resources Committee. I'm on judiciary, natural resources and the select committee on the weaponization of the federal government, but on natural resources, I am on the water Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee, and I am the chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs. So I oversee all 574 federally recognized tribes and our five territories as well as several island chains in the South Pacific Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands with which we have special arraignment arrangements, in terms of providing them with debt defense Since services and funding and then we essentially can exclude China primarily from taking over the entire South Pacific sea. So, anyway, with my Indian work, it has been absolutely fascinating. I was extremely honored to be asked by Bruce Westerman. He's the chairman of natural resources, he asked me to chair that subcommittee and I said, I'm a freshman, I don't know what I can do any so well you can learn on the job. And I have and I have been extremely honored to work with tribes across the United States, and including in Wyoming, both Eastern Shoshone and, and the Northern Arapaho. They've had their representatives back here testifying, I've had an opportunity to meet with them on everything from addressing the education issue and deficits, as well as Indian Health Services. So the two primary issues that I have, that I've been trying to address, as chairman of that subcommittee, is Indian Health Services, we need to do a much better job of providing Indian Health Services I, we've had three hearings now with with folks who have come in from across the United States, and testified about the challenges that they have in providing medical and dental care to our tribal members. So one of the bills that I'm working on and that I would like to move forward with is the only way we're going to be I think one of the only ways we're going to be able to actually provide adequate health care and move in that direction, to our tribal members, who rely on the federal government for Indian Health Services, is if we can have Doctor own hospitals, and as you may know, under Obamacare, they barred doctors from owning hospitals. But what that's done is that's really limited the ability for us to get dentists and medical providers on our reservations, because they just don't have the incentive. And it's it's difficult to do that. So I'm working with our doctors caucus, and I have submitted an amendment to one of the bills that they're moving forward with, so that we can have doctor on hospitals in rural areas, as well as on Indian reservations. Because I think we need to do a much better job. There's a 10 year discrepancy in life expectancy between Native Americans and Caucasians. And that's wrong. That's just that's just wrong. I, if you look at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, it's the poorest county in the entire United States. And again, I'm going to say it, that's wrong. We have to be doing things differently. I'm very passionate about this, because I am horrified by some of the stories and things that I hear and the challenges that we have our education system, we've got to start doing better by the students that we have our tribal members, our young tribal members. And then the other issue I've really focused on is trying to address some property issues. Try it for an example is is getting 40 acres for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation so that they can put up a memorial for wounded knee. I mean, clearly what happened at wounded, they was a terrible situation. This gives them an opportunity to honor the people that were lost there and to make sure that that's not lost to history. Another thing that I've done is introduced a bill. Right now, our tribes for their trust lands, they're only allowed to lease them for 25 years at a time, unless they get special dispensation, excuse me from Congress, I want to increase that to 99 years, because you're not gonna get hard infrastructure on these reservations for a convenience store or a movie theater, whatever it might be, if they can only lease for 25 years. So if they can lease up to 99 years, we can bring in more infrastructure to our reservations, and hopefully do more economic development that way. So that's another one that that I've been working on. Also, like for the Winnebago tribe, we're working to get land back from for them that was stolen by the Corps of Engineers many years ago on the Missouri River. We had a hearing with the Winnebago tribe that came in and testified about that. So we're working to get a bill through so that those lands can go back to the Winnebago tribe where they belong. And there are just other things that we've done to try to get the trust lands where they need to be, and to ensure that the that the Native Americans that our tribal members can can determine their own autonomy, I mean, freedom and being able to determine their own destiny and being able to manage their own lands, all of those things are extremely important to our tribal leaders that I meet with. And I've just been working really hard to make sure that we can can move down that road further.

Wendy Corr 

Sounds like you're very passionate about that. That's fantastic. The scope of the things that you're able to touch, and that you're able to make a difference. And so look this this brings me to a whole different, different idea. For a year now. You were elected a year ago, you've been in office there for 11 months now. What have you seen what how did your your impression of Washington DC and the processes change from the time that you got there in January until now?

Rep. Hageman 

So one of the things that I don't do is I don't I don't criticize Washington, DC. And I don't refer to it as a swamp. And I don't say things like that. This is a beautiful, beautiful city. It's our nation's capitol. There's so much history and architecture here and the museums, and the opportunities to immerse yourself and learn about so many different things. The ability to go to the Library of Congress and just see how incredibly beautiful it is, and and what our forefathers did, and what they created and why this is such a beautiful open city compared to other cities on the East Coast. Because nothing can be higher than Washington Monument, there's just, there's an awful lot to learn. I think one of the challenges for me has been that when we identify a problem, I always say, how do we solve it. So I spend at least part of every day meeting with constituents whether from Wyoming or from the oil and gas industry, or the coal industry, or tribes from Florida, or gravel companies from California, I'm meeting with people every day, and they come in and they talk to me about a problem. And I typically will say, how do you see we can go about solving that? What do you think that we can do? Do I need to write a letter? Is there a bill that we could run? Is there something that we need to change? Is there a regulation we need to address? Do I need to get a hold of an agency head? How do we solve this problem? I'm always trying to solve the problem. And I'll give you an example on the 99 year lease issue. Everybody pretty much agrees that's that's what we should do. It just takes so much time to get those things done. And for me, that's that's a challenge as an attorney for 30 plus years and a trial attorney, you get your case, you figure out the issues, you do your discovery, you go to trial, or you settle the case. And then you move on to the next one. But you're always solving problems. You're always resolving something. And my frustration here is I see things that could be fixed. I know things that could be fixed. And I we can't get them fixed fast enough. And I think that's where people get frustrated with Washington, DC. And it's where I do, we have to find a way of recognizing that the status quo is not the answer. There are solutions and for that, for the low hanging fruit, we ought to be able to move forward with those very, very quickly. But it's almost as though people kind of hold those things hostage to get something a little bit more difficult through that I just don't believe in that mechanism of governing I think we need to govern.

Wendy Corr  

I think that's great. Thank you so much. That's wonderful feedback on that. I wouldn't like to ask, you're not just I mean, yes, you are Wyoming's lone representative there. But you are part of a three person team representing Wyoming. Tell me about how often do you connect with or consult with Cynthia Lummis and with John Barrasso.

Rep. Hageman 

So in the spring, we did what was called Wyoming Wednesdays, and I would go over to the Senate office building. And when people would come in organizations, groups, people would come in, they all knew to come there at eight o'clock in the morning on Wednesdays, and we would have an opportunity to visit with them kind of on moss. We haven't done that more recently, I assume that we'll start that again next spring and do that for several months, a couple of months before we go into more of the I wouldn't say the campaign season as much as just getting things wrapped up. Because we're getting towards the end of the 119th. Congress, I spend some time with them not as much time as I would have expected for one thing. We have different schedules back here. We're not in session at the same time. We also have different hearings, schedules and different things that we're focusing on. I think another challenge is that the house is in Republican hands, the Senate is in Democrat hands. And so there is there's not an effort even though we're putting bills through and we've done a lot of bills, we've done a lot of bills, the Senate just doesn't take them up. So there just isn't that opportunity to go to sit down and try to find a way to reach a resolution with those. That's been another frustration that I have had. And there are some that are very bipartisan bills that you would think would get through pretty easily one of the things that we did early on, and I think the vast majority the Democrats in the House voted for it is to block President Biden from selling our Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil to China. So he's been selling our SPR oil to China, we're now down over 60% It's going to take over 10 years to refill our SPR oil and reserves. And and the Democrats and Republicans in the House have both said we shouldn't be doing that. But we can't get the Senate to take up those kinds of things that I think are pretty common sense. So I don't spend this much time with John and Cynthia, but I will say this, they have been incredibly helpful to my staff. They've also been incredibly helpful for any kind of questions that I have. They've been good mentors of mine. We're just kind of on different a little bit different tracks in terms of how we approach Thanks.

Wendy Corr 

Very good. Um, let's just real quickly because we are getting close to running out of time here. But real quickly, one more major issue that we've kind of talked about, and you just mentioned the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but energy independence, yes, you have addressed this in several pieces of legislation. Tell me a little bit about where you see and how you can represent Wyoming's real love and for and request for energy independence. Tell me about that. So

Rep. Hageman  

I'm a member of the coal caucus, we've got a meeting later this afternoon, in fact, and I just met yesterday with a variety of oil and gas companies, I obviously believe in energy independence, I'm going to use my mother as an example of why I think this is so critically important that I'm going to touch for a moment on the Middle East, what's going on with Israel. As I said, my mother turned 100 years old last Tuesday. And what I want the listeners to think about is what she has seen change in her life. In the last 100 years, she grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota, and they'd get up at four o'clock in the morning to milk the cows, and then they'd go to work and they, you know, work in the fields. And they'd have an enormous garden that they tended, and they would chop the wood for the winter, they spent the vast majority of their time doing nothing but putting food on the table and making sure they had sufficient wood for the winter time. Their lives were very hard. And if you think about before my mother was born from 1923, prior to that time, you're talking hundreds, if not 1000s, of years, that the human condition was pretty static, it was pretty much the same for everybody. And what I just described for my mother, in the last 100 years, because of the invention of the internal combustion engine, and the ability to commercially developed oil and gas and coal, we have changed the world in ways that none of our predecessors ever could have possibly imagined. Air travel, our ability to go overseas, the prosperity that we have is related to one thing, and that's affordable energy, our food prospects are our ability to have the kind of food that we do. And the access that we have is because of affordable energy. And we have an administration right now, that is hell bent on making sure that we lose that. And I'm going to fight him every step of the way. Because I don't believe in government imposed wretchedness. This is critical. This is critically important to the future of our country, and who humanity, they can talk about climate crisis. But I'm going to tell you the decrease in infant mortality rate, because of the use of affordable energy and access to it, the increase in life expectancy because of the access to affordable energy. All of those things are light years ahead of what they could ever do in terms of keeping Earth from warming by one degree or whatever their metric is, at this point. It is absurd to not look at the opportunity cost of what they're trying to do. And their effort to destroy our energy and our food supply is absolutely going to be devastating to humanity. Then let's go to the Middle East. What we're seeing and what we saw on October 7, the barbarism associated with that what we're seeing with empowering a country like Iran, since they lifted the moratorium on Iran being able to sell oil, they have raised $80 billion selling oil, there was a moratorium, we were crushing their economy, to stop them from engaging in and being a state sponsor of terrorism. And look where we are now, a weak United States makes for a very dangerous world, as a United States that is not energy independent and not capable of exporting our energy resources makes for a very dangerous world. This is truly a matter of life and death. We have to protect our oil and gas industries, we have to protect our coal companies and industries, we have to be able to produce domestic energy, and the entire world is better off for it when we do it. We are at the world is in is blowing up. And much of that comes back to failed energy policy. Wyoming is so important to that we we make people's lives better across this country. And we can do it for the world as well. We have the resources, we have the the the companies, we have the trained workforce. We have so much in Wyoming, we have everything that our country needs, and I want to make sure we can access and provide it so that the people of America benefit from that.

Wendy Corr 

Obviously another topic you're very passionate about and that's marvelous. Harriet, this has been a phenomenal conversation. Thank you very much for your time for your work on behalf of the cowboy state and for your appearance here on Cowboy State dailies very first episode of The roundup.

Rep. Hageman 

So say it again. I am so honored. Thank you.

Wendy Corr 

Well, we are as well. Happy holidays. And Merry Christmas and all of the wonderful things. I hope you're gonna get home for Christmas.

Rep. Hageman 

I will. Yeah. Back home with my mother. Wonderful.

Wendy Corr 

Well, thank you very much Harriet. And thank you folks for listening in to our very first episode of the Roundup, Cowboy State Daily’s podcast. We appreciate your time. We appreciate your listening and we appreciate your feedback. So send us your ideas for podcast interviews, and we will give you the quality content that we just got from our Wyoming representative

Harriet, thank you so much. Thank you, folks. Have a wonderful day. We will be back next week. 

Share this article

Authors

WC

Wendy Corr

Features Reporter