Some Wyoming Republicans Say Gordon’s State Of State Full Of ‘Hypocrisy’

Gov. Mark Gordon said all the right things in his State of the State speech Monday, which has some Wyoming Republicans calling out as “hypocrisy” and inconsistent with his recent energy stances.

Leo Wolfson

February 13, 20244 min read

State Rep. Karlee Provenza, from left, Gov. Mark Gordon and Rep. Tim French.
State Rep. Karlee Provenza, from left, Gov. Mark Gordon and Rep. Tim French. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

On face value, there was little controversial about what Gov. Mark Gordon said in his State of the State speech Monday.

He appealed to the conservative-leaning interests of Wyoming’s supermajority Legislature by touting the importance of Wyoming’s minerals. The governor likely scored points with some by calling out President Joe Biden at multiple junctures. And he urged the Legislature to address escalating property taxes, a growing issue with bipartisan agreement around the state.

But some conservative lawmakers say Gordon’s State of the State remarks don’t square up with other comments he has made in recent months, specifically at an event at Harvard University last October where he said Wyoming is committing to reducing its carbon output and becoming carbon negative.

Different Talk?

State Sen. Tim French, R-Powell, said Gordon’s speech made him question what had changed for the governor besides the venue and audience.

“It seemed that he was completely talking different than when he went to Harvard, and I didn’t appreciate that,” said French. “A little bit of hypocrisy there from the speech before.”

His fellow Republican Sen. Dan Laursen of Park County added that he thought Gordon’s State of the State was “pretty good standard boilerplate.”

Although Gordon didn’t use any of the “decarbonization” or “carbon negative” language that he’s caught heat for in recent months, his overall sentiment was the same in advocating for an “all-of-the-above” energy policies that equally embraces fossil fuels and green energies, although he never specifically mentioned the latter during his speech.

During his Monday address, Gordon referenced that Harvard visit, couching it as a trip into “the very belly of the beast.”

“I delivered to them the inconvenient truth that coal, oil and natural gas are vital to all our futures, including theirs,” Gordon said.

Rep. Bill Allemand, R-Midwest, said he appreciated Gordon’s comments Monday and respects the governor, but didn’t believe his remarks were genuine. At Harvard, Allemand said Gordon threw Wyoming under the bus by saying the state is committed to becoming “carbon negative.”

“I wish he would’ve given the same speech where he gave tonight that he gave at Harvard,” Allemand said. “What I heard was pretty good, but I don’t believe that’s what he actually believes.”

There is a contingency of Republicans in Wyoming like Allemand who not only oppose moving away from fossil fuels, but oppose giving any kind of support for green energy.

Others Liked It

But this doesn’t represent the viewpoint of all Wyoming Republicans, and Rep. Barry Crago, R-Buffalo, said he thought Gordon’s speech was spot-on about the way Wyoming should be approaching its energy future.

“He said what a lot of us believe,” Crago said.

Laramie Democrat Rep. Karlee Provenza said she had no major issues with Gordon’s speech and supports his proposed budget, but said his criticisms of Biden were rather pointless and took away from the focus on solving Wyoming problems.

“Joe Biden is not listening to Gordon’s speech,” Provenza said. “Shaking my fist at the federal government and expecting something to happen is not very productive.”

More To Come

Gordon will get more pushback on his energy policies in the days to come as Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, and the Senate Agriculture Committee is hosting an event called a Hearing on the Environmental Impacts of "Net Zero" and "Carbon Negative" Policies on Tuesday night.

Then, on Wednesday the Wyoming Freedom Caucus will host a press conference at the Capitol to discuss Gordon's CO2 policies and what they believe has been “his decision not to openly debate these positions, and more.”

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter