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Doug Gerard

Doug Gerard: Whatever Happened To Cowboying Up?

in Column/Doug Gerard

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By Doug Gerard, guest columnist

This past election was a bountiful one for conservatives throughout Wyoming, especially in Campbell County. 

In my estimation, there are roughly 32 conservatives in the Wyoming Legislature split between the House and Senate.  Those 32 conservatives, Republicans all, represent the largest conservative class of legislators in the last fifteen years.

Unfortunately,  liberals (Democrat and Republican) have control of the leadership in the House.  That doesn’t bode well for Wyoming.  I predict regular joes and small businesses will pay the bill for that liberal control. 

With Governor Mark Gordon’s support, I expect our legislature will establish new taxes, more spending, and fewer structural cuts than would otherwise be suitable for the challenges facing Wyoming.

Worse still is the way our legislative House leadership wants to accomplish their liberal anti-Republican agenda.  There are plans afoot not to have the legislature meet as usual this January. 

Using COVID as the excuse, House leadership wants to split the 2021 General Session into two parts, twelve days of an online session and the balance to be held later on at an unspecified time, in an undetermined manner. 

Online meetings limit the discourse that legislators can have.  Most adversely affected will be new legislators who are learning the rules of their chamber. 

The returning moderate and liberal solons have their long-standing networks.  Newly organized conservatives, especially the nascent conservative Freedom Caucus, start from scratch as the lion’s share of conservatives are freshly elected. 

Ultimately veteran legislators, the majority of whom are liberals (Democrat and Republican), will have a decided advantage in online meetings. 

Keep in mind that the moderates and liberals of both the Democrat and Republican parties under the leadership of Steve Harshman and Eric Barlow got Wyoming into this mess.   

Certainly, COVID is a danger, as the tragic death of my friend Rep. Roy Edwards highlights.  However, other state legislatures, especially South Dakota, are meeting as usual.  Why can’t Wyoming? 

What can Wyoming do to hold the General Session as normal?

First off, reserve enough vaccinations for the legislators and legislative staff that wish to be vaccinated. Second, the state should provide N95 masks, face shields, latex gloves, and hand-sanitizers for all staff and legislators to use at their discretion.  

Wyoming is in a world of pain right now and needs our elected officials to lead us out of the darkness.  That can only happen if they meet as usual for this session.  We don’t need them cowering in their homes.

Whatever happened to cowboying up, doing what needs doing?

Please, contact your legislators and Speaker of the House, Eric Barlow (307.682.9639).  Please ask them to meet as expected.  Please do it for Wyoming; the job you save may be your own.

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Doug Gerard: WY Board Of Medicine Has Done Blatant COVID Overreach

in Column/Doug Gerard

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By Doug Gerard, guest columnist

I’m deeply disturbed about a proclamation made in March By the Wyoming Board of Medicine.

I’m dismayed Governor Gordon, or his Attorney General for that matter, haven’t acted to correct the Wyoming Board of Medicine’s blatant overreach. After all, Governor Gordon swore in his oath of office to support, defend, and “obey” the Constitutions of the United States and Wyoming.

To put things in perspective, let’s start with the Wyoming Constitution and what it says about you and your health care:

ARTICLE 2 Sec. 38. Right of health care access.
(a) Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions. The parent, guardian or legal representative of any other natural person shall have the right to make health care decisions for that person.
(b) Any person may pay, and a health care provider may accept, direct payment for health care without imposition of penalties or fines for doing so.
(c) The legislature may determine reasonable and necessary restrictions on the rights granted under this section to protect the health and general welfare of the people or to accomplish the other purposes set forth in the Wyoming Constitution.
(d) The state of Wyoming shall act to preserve these rights from undue governmental infringement.

Pretty straight forward, right?

It says that you have the right to make the health care decisions you want and that the legislature may place limits on barbaric practices that try to find cover under the aegis of healthcare (e.g., abortion). Most importantly, the state is charged with ensuring that our right to the healthcare we want is protected.

This part of the Wyoming Constitution is quite dear to me. Way back in 2008, I started work to make Wyoming’s Healthcare Freedom Amendment a reality. After many twists and turns, the amendment finally made it through the legislature in the 2011 General Session. In 2012 voters had their say, and it passed overwhelmingly, with 77% of Wyoming voters for the measure.

The day after the election, I got an email from then-Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau, reading, “Congratulations, you’re the grandfather of a constitutional amendment.” It is the best email I ever received, three years of work paid off.

Now fast forward to March 2020, the age of COVID and the hydroxychloroquine controversy.

From my layman’s perspective, the science of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine effectiveness is muddled. While some studies and anecdotal evidence say the malaria drugs help, others say the drugs are ineffective. The scientific consensus is that, in general, the medications don’t provide any benefit for the treatment of COVID-19. With that said there remain a number of outspoken physicians that say the drugs help, and they proscribe them for their patients.

In March of 2020, the Wyoming Board of Medicine decided it knows what’s best for you and your healthcare. The Board issued a proclamation saying it will aggressively pursue and discipline any healthcare professional operating outside the ever-changing “standard of care.” The declaration explicitly threatens those that would or have prescribed chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in response to COVID-19.

This is unconstitutional. ARTICLE 2 Sec. 38 of the Wyoming Constitution is clear. You and your doctor get to decide the healthcare you want and receive, subject to the limitations set by the legislature. If you and your physician agree a medication, procedure, or other treatment would be of benefit to you, you have the right to that treatment.

Where is Governor Gordon? Where is the Attorney General? They are two of the top officials in the state. The Wyoming Constitution requires them to protect our right to health care we decide we need. Why have they let this stand?

I recognize that the Board of Medicine plays a vital role in ensuring Wyoming doctors have the proper training to earn and keep a license. The Board of Medicine is also there when things go wrong. The Board is responsible for adjudicating complaints against physicians, potentially ending their career and life’s work with revocation of their license to practice.

That said, the Board of Medicine doesn’t have the right to tell my dually licensed physician and me what healthcare I can and cannot have. This is especially true when the patient and doctor agree on treatment that is non-standard. The only institution that may place restrictions on my healthcare is the Wyoming State Legislature. It’s right there in the Wyoming Constitution.

Jump to July 2020; I get COVID. It’s personal now!

In eight days, I lost thirty pounds, was in zombie mode sleeping 20 hours days. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink enough fluids. Eventually, I ended up in the emergency room. In the ER, I received IV fluids and a prescription for a course of high dose steroids.

I was convinced that I was on a downward spiral and was concerned I might have an extended severe bout with COVID. I am confident the steroids stopped the disease progression in its tracks and put me on the road to recovery.

Just two days before my ER visit, a study was released indicating high dose steroids effectively treat COVID. Before that, steroids for COVID treatment were thought to be ineffective and potentially harmful.

It got me thinking: What if that study never happened? What if something delayed the research? How would this have affected me? Would I have gotten the steroids prescribed? Would I have recovered?

Given the Board of Medicine stance on COVID treatment, I can’t help but ask if that study hadn’t come out, would my physician have risked his license to prescribe steroids for me?

According to a physician I trust, the steroids were the medically logical action to take, even without the study to back it up. Even so, given the threat against physicians’ livelihood from the Board of Medicine, would a physician take the risk and act outside the ever-changing “standard of care” on COVID treatment?

From my view and experience, the March decree of the Board of Medicine is patently unconstitutional and, without doubt, hindering Wyoming residents’ healthcare.

The State of Wyoming, led by Governor Gordon with his Attorney General’s aid, need to step up and reverse the Board of Medicine’s unconstitutional action,

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Doug Gerard: Why Would Matt Micheli “Turn All Hillary” On Us

in Column/Doug Gerard

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By Doug Gerard, guest columnist

I’d never thought I’d see the day when a former Wyoming Republican Chairman would act more like Hillary Clinton than Ronald Reagan, but here we are.

Matt Micheli’s recent peddling of his ‘alt-right’ and the Wyoming GOP conspiracy theory echoes Hilary Clinton bemoaning the vast-right-wing-conspiracy working against her at every turn. Despite his track record as a fiscal and social conservative, Micheli’s claims are hogwash.  

No matter how many times Mr. Micheli or others make claims to the contrary, today’s Wyoming Republican Party is the same as it ever has been.

Need proof? Here are the platforms from 20202018201620142012, and 2010. You’ll notice while there may be changes to the phrasing, Wyoming Republicans maintain their conservative message of individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, family, and country.  

So, what’s changed?  

In a nutshell, fresh leadership, a groundswell from the grassroots, and the notion that officials elected as Republicans should vote like Republicans.

And what caused the change?

Its roots go back to 2014 when the Republican Party stood up for its conservative principles and brought Governor Matt Mead to a censure vote.  

Governor Mead’s conduct and handling of Senate File 104 was the source of much concern in the state. While Governor Mead narrowly escaped censure, it sent an important message: the Wyoming GOP would hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.

Since then, across the state, county parties are electing county chairs, state-committee women, and men that stand up for Republican principles, forthrightly asking elected Republicans to support the Republican Platform according to the Reagan Rule. While there are exceptions, many Wyoming Republicans no longer support liberal legislators because they put an ‘R’ after their name.

Interestingly, during Chairman Micheli’s tenure, the state party first denied funding to Republican candidates because they did not toe the Republican Platform line. 

The idea that elected Republicans support 80 percent of the Republican Platform (the Reagan Rule) is resurgent at the grassroots level. Unsurprisingly liberal Republicans hate the idea. It’s what gave birth to the Frontier Republicans. They don’t want to be held accountable to the Republican Platform. They want to use the ‘R’ to gain victory and then behave as they please.    

This year 2020 has shown that the division between Liberal-Republicans and run of the mill Republicans is at an all-time high. Despite claims to the contrary, Frontier Republicans and their fellow travelers are stoking that divide.  

Despite calls for civility in politics, the liberal Republicans have done their best to sabotage the Wyoming Republican Party. For example, Frontier Republicans and their assorted minions have:

  • At their opening meeting called for civility and then immediately called those they disagree with ‘cockroaches.’
  • Supported the campaigns of Democrats
  • Boycotted fundraisers for the Wyoming Republican party
  • Held a fundraiser for Frontier Republicans while the Wyoming Republican Party honored the Wyoming congressional delegation.
  • Stormed out of the state convention after losing several votes by decisive two-thirds majorities. 

There is more, of course, but you get the idea. It’s as if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a teach-in with the Frontier Republicans to show them how to attack the Republican base.

Matt Micheli and his new liberal friends claim conservatives never offer solutions. It simply isn’t true! As a one-time conservative ally, Micheli knows better.

For example, the Republicans from Campbell County, who won stunning and decisive primary victories, already have offered a Contract with Campbell County detailing what they want to do in the next legislative session. Other Republicans fresh from primary victories are looking at different ideas focused on spending less and protecting Wyoming citizens from new taxes.  

Liberals don’t like it and, like liberals nationwide, blame conservative Republicans for everything.  

No matter how you slice it, Wyoming Republicans have always been conservative. Thanks to a groundswell from the grassroots, the Wyoming Republican Party is pushing back against the ultra-liberal, high tax, job-killing ideas, from Democrats or Republicans.  

It is sad to see Matt turn all Hillary on us. 

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