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Wyoming Officials Speak Out Against Trump’s Proposed Election Delay

in elections/News/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

President Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that the United States delay the Nov. 3 general election received much pushback from various legislators, including several of Wyoming’s elected representatives.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that universal mail-in voting would cause widespread inaccuracies and an uptick in voter fraud. To not cause a “great embarrassment” to the United States, Trump suggested delaying the election until people could “properly, securely and safely vote.”

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted her thoughts on the president’s suggestion, saying lawmakers wouldn’t take any action to delay the election.

“The resistance to this idea among Republicans is overwhelming,” she wrote. “We must take all necessary steps to prevent election fraud – including stopping Democrat ballot harvesting – but we will not be delaying the election.”

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso sided with Cheney when he spoke to Fox Business Network in an interview.

“No, we are not going to delay the election,” Barrasso said. “We’re going to have the election completed and voting completed by Election Day.”

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne said on his Facebook page that he also didn’t support a delay.

“Stop with this nonsense and govern,” the Republican representative wrote.

Other national politicians who rejected Trump’s idea included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The president also wrote on Thursday that mail-in voting was “already proving to be a catastrophic disaster,” saying mail-in voting was an easy way for foreign countries to influence the election. He also was concerned about inaccurate vote counts.

Trump touched on New York’s mail-in voting system earlier this week, saying it was “in a disastrous state of condition” and alleging the election was rigged.

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Enzi Warns Congress Of Out Of Control Overspending

in Economy/News/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi called on Congress to be mindful of the nation’s debt and deficit as legislators tackle a new bill to address the coronavirus pandemic.

As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, the senator has had a close eye on the debt as the numbers have ticked upward in the last few months.

During his speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Enzi noted this fiscal year, the country has already run up a deficit of $2.7 trillion, more than triple the size of the deficit the country ran at the same time last year.

“I recognize the unprecedented crisis presented by COVID-19 and I supported the necessary response,” Enzi said in his speech. “When this crisis abates, and it will, the federal government cannot afford to return to the status quo of unsustainable budgets and surging debt that jeopardizes the prosperity of future generations. We have to start a serious conversation about how we are going to pay our bills and put our finances on a more sustainable path. We can justify aggressive borrowing and spending as necessary during times of crisis, but that cannot be our default.”

The Congressional Budget Office projects the country is on track to spend $3.7 trillion more than we take in this year, without any new coronavirus legislation. By the end of the fiscal year, the country’s publicly held debt will exceed the size of the economy and by the end of 2021, debt as a percentage of the economy will be higher than it’s ever been in United States history.

“We are spending billions of dollars without so much as a discussion of how to pay for things while we keep digging the hole deeper for future generations,” Enzi said. “More legislation may be needed to combat the virus and help the economy, but we cannot use the crisis to justify opening the spending floodgates and borrowing from future generations to fund non-emergency priorities. We all owe it to them to do better, and I hope we start to do so soon.”

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Republican Wyoming Senate Candidates Tackle Pandemic, Taxes, Tribal Rights In Tuesday Debate

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Republican candidates for one of Wyoming’s U.S. Senate seats discussed issues ranging from the destruction of Confederate monuments and immigration reform to stimulus packages during their first debate Tuesday night.

Nine of the 10 Republican candidates eyeing the U.S. Senate seat now held by U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi gathered in Sheridan for the debate, held just one month before Wyoming’s primary election.

Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne, Michael Kemler of Lander, R. Mark Armstrong of Centennial, Star Roselli of Arizona, Josh Wheeler of Casper, Bryan Miller of Sheridan, Donna Rice of Casper, Robert Short of Douglas and John Holtz of Laramie participated in the debate at Sheridan College. The nine candidates were split into two groups for the event, with Lummis, Wheeler, Rice, Miller and Kemler facing off for the first round and Roselli, Holtz, Short and Armstrong making up the roster for the second.

During the first round, Lummis stated her opposition to the destruction of monuments seen around the country.

“We need to respect our history,” she said. “If we forget our history, we’re bound to repeat it.”

The candidates agreed with each other more often than not on issues such as their support for a more secure border and their disapproval of the federal government bailing out states with coronavirus relief funds, although they usually had differing ideas on how to approach those issues in Congress.

“We need to have more of a defensive perimeter and have a proper barrier to keep people from coming in illegally,” Wheeler said. “I’d rather see see an immigration system that favors those who come here legally and not put them on a back burner.”

Areas where the candidates were split included the federal coronavirus relief legislation, which Lummis supported and Miller opposed, and their support for Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House advisor on health issues who has taken center stage during the coronavirus pandemic.

“[Fauci] is a scientist, but he’s been wrong a lot,” Miller said. “The country, as a whole, is in worse shape for listening to someone we knew was wrong two weeks into the pandemic.”

During the second round, Holtz, Roselli, Short and Armstrong sparred over issues including the Centers for Disease Control, social media regulations and federal debt.

“The federal government is addicted to spending,” Armstrong said during the debt discussion. “We need to get away from baseline budgeting. We can’t keep letting the federal government just keep printing money.”

The candidates’ viewpoints differed wildly on the subject of Social Security, with Armstrong calling it a “huge burden,” while Roselli and Short argued its value to the country’s elderly. Holtz declared that taxing Social Security benefits was wrong, and once Congress eliminated the taxes on it, the benefits would be more clear.

One of the moderators had to interject about midway through the second debate, reminding the candidates to stay on topic.

During the second round, Roselli also touted a conspiracy theory that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (whom she mistakenly referred to as “Jeff”) is the grandson of David Rockefeller and that the Central Intelligence Agency provided funding for the social media website in its early days.

The only Republican candidate not to take part in the debate was Philadelphia resident Devon Cade.

Wyoming’s primary election is Aug. 18. A total of 16 people are running for U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi’s soon-to-be open seat, 10 Republicans and six Democrats.

Democrats on the primary ballot include former gubernatorial candidate Rex Wilde of Cheyenne, James Kirk DeBine of Evansville, Kenneth Casner of Elk Mountain, Merav Ben David of Laramie, Nathan Wendt of Jackson and Yana Ludwig of Laramie.

The Democratic Senate debate will be held Thursday night.

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Barrasso Condemns Democrats For Endorsing Mob Violence

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U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is not happy with the Democratic Party’s response to mob violence, including the toppling of statues across America.

Appearing on FOX News earlier this week, Barrasso said the lack of condemnation of such actions by the Democratic Leadership was disturbing to him.

“Nancy Pelosi has now surrendered to the mob and it just shows you just how radical and out of touch the Democrat party has become under this coalition that the Democrats have put together with the Socialists, the Marxists, and the anarchists,” Barrasso said.

The senator mentioned the destruction of a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus in Baltimore — where Pelosi’s father served as mayor — and condemned her for the lack of a response.

“[Mayor Pelosi] likely contributed money and time to putting up the statue of Christopher Columbus. Now she is fine with tearing it down,” he said.

Barrasso said the mob removal of statues was emblematic of a larger issue that Democrats are endorsing called the ‘cancel-culture.’

 “it’s not just about the statue,” he said. “It’s this whole movement of the far, far dangerous left. People who want to cancel and defund the police.”

“They want to change America permanently — for the worse — with taking away free speech, canceling who we are and where we’ve come from,” he said.

Barrasso said people he’s spoken to in Wyoming are “absolutely offended” by not only the actions of the violent protestors but how Speaker Pelosi has “surrendered to them.”

“She will have to make her own decision for herself but the whole Democrat party is heading this way,”he said.  It is a very dangerous coalition for our country. The things they want to do.”

Barrasso said he knew the viewers of the FOX program would stand for the mob movement and he “wouldn’t stand for it either.”

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Senator Uses Wyoming As Example Why DC Shouldn’t Be A State; Predictably Gets Annihilated On Social Media

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The House of Representatives will vote Friday on a bill that aims to make the District of Columbia the 51st state in the nation.

Arguing against the bill on Thursday was U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas. 

In his argument, Cotton compared the District of Columbia to Wyoming likely because a frequent criticism of those who desire Washington, D.C. to become a state is that the district has a higher population than the cowboy state.

“Yes, Wyoming is smaller than Washington, D.C. by population,” Cotton said.  “But it has three times as many workers in mining, logging, and construction and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing.”

“In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded working class state. A new state of Washington, D.C. would not be,” he said.

“What vital interests would the new state of Washington, DC represent?  Lobbying? Bureaucracy?” he asked himself.

“By far the largest group of workers in the city are bureaucrats and other white collar professionals,” he said. This state would be nothing more than an appendage of the federal government.”

The aftermath?  Predictable. 

Just as he was roundly criticized by the mainstream media for an opinion piece he authored in the New York Times advocating the federal government push back on rioters in the country, he was slammed for this opinion as well.

“Why should should people’s political rights depend on their participation in the resource-extraction economy? Is it because people who work in those fields are … well, hold that thought,” wrote New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait.

Mark Joseph Stern of Slate magazine tweeted, “Tom Cotton is racist.”

Max Berger, who describes himself as a political organizer for social democracy went there too.  

“Wyoming: 578,759 residents; 91.6% of them are white.  D.C.: 705,749 residents; 45.5% of them are Black. Tom Cotton thinks Wyoming should be a state, but D.C. should not. I wonder why!,” he tweeted.

The likelihood of Washington, D.C. becoming a state — at least for now — is small. Senator Mitch McConnell has vowed that the bill never see the light of day on the senate side and President Trump has said he would veto any such bill.

As for public support, only 29% of the country supports it according to a recent Gallup poll.

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Wyoming GOP Convention Gets Conservative Superstar Charlie Kirk to Keynote

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The Wyoming Republican Party is doing what most organizations can’t right now. Not only are they getting a high-profile figure to keynote their convention but that figure is actually appearing in-person.

Well-known conservative activist Charlie Kirk is heading to Gillette for the Wyoming Republican Convention this weekend and for conservatives, there couldn’t be a better time to host him.

In conservative circles, Kirk is on fire. On Tuesday night, in front of more than 3,000 people, President Trump praised the young activist.

“The radical left demands absolute conformity from every professor, researcher, reporter, journalist, corporation, entertainer, politician, campus speaker, and private citizen,” President Trump said.

“But we have Charlie Kirk and we have our people and our people are stronger.  You are the courageous warriors standing in the way of what they want to do and their goals,” he said.

Speaking on Fox News Wednesday morning, Kirk was enthusiastic about President Trump’s performance in Phoenix.

“Despite what a lot of people wondered, more than 3,000 young people in the middle of the Arizona heat waited up to nine hours to hear the president speak,” Kirk said.

He said the president’s message on “core American values” resonated with the crowd.

“He repeatedly mentioned ’In God We Trust’ and ‘One Nation Under God’”, Kirk said.  “He reenforced the cultural issues in America.”

“He reenforced a lot of the cultural issues in America. He talked about how we are not going to tolerate history being deleted or being torn down.”

According to a release from the Wyoming Republican Party, Kirk will deliver the keynote address on Saturday at the Cam-Plex in Gillette. The dinner is slated to begin at 6pm.

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John Barrasso: “I Don’t Intend to Buy John Bolton’s Book”

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Details of former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s forthcoming book are causing a commotion in the political world. 

And, predictably, it all depends on what side you’re on. If you’re pro-Trump, the book is a sham. If you are anti-Trump, the book is as sacred as the Bible.

Put Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso in the former camp.

He told Fox Business Anchor Stuart Varney Thursday morning that he has no intention of adding the book to his library.

“John Bolton has become the darling of the liberal left. He is using sensationalism to sell books.  I don’t intend to buy it,” Barrasso said.

The senator brushed aside some of the criticism Bolton reportedly leveled in the tell-all, such as barbs aimed at Trump’s desire to sell more agriculture commodities to China.

“He is accusing the president of trying to sell agriculture products to China. Well, being from Wyoming — an agriculture state — I am for that,” Barrasso said.

Barrasso also criticized the former National Security Advisor for saying he thinks “he’s the smartest guy in the room”

“He thinks he ought to be president, speaker of the House, chief justice of the Supreme Court — all rolled into one,” Barrasso said. “I’m pretty much done with him.”

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Barrasso: Violence and Looting Must Stop Now

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The peaceful protests mourning the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd have been hijacked by criminals and the resulting violence must stop, Sen. John Barrasso said Tuesday.

Barrasso, appearing on FOX News, said he was “heartbroken” after watching the video of Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. 

But that doesn’t excuse the violence and looting happening all across the nation, he said.

“These violent criminals responsible for the wanton destruction, the rioting, and the looting have no respect for the law,” he said. “These are people who are trying to undermine the nation.”

Barrasso said the violent actions must stop and there should be no tolerance for the behavior.

When asked if he thought the people of Wyoming would support their taxpayer dollars going toward fixing the damage in Minneapolis, New York, or in other cities, Barrasso said he felt there would be more support for jailing the offenders.

“If the president needs to help to make sure that the mayors and the governors have what they need in terms of national guard or military support to put this violent element off the streets, then the people of Wyoming are prepared to pay for that,” he said.

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Statewide Lodging Tax Becomes Law

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A bill creating a statewide lodging tax was signed into law Friday by Gov. Mark Gordon, clearing the way for the tax to take effect Jan. 1.

House Bill 134 will impose a statewide 5 percent tax on the cost of hotel and motel rooms, with money raised by 3 percent of the tax, about $13 million a year, to be used by the state Office of Tourism to promote tourism in Wyoming.

Income from the remaining 2 percent will go to the state’s counties, where an additional 2 percent lodging tax could be imposed with voter approval.

Also signed into law on Friday was House Bill 5, which authorizes digital driver’s licenses.

The bills were signed as lawmakers wrapped up the fourth week of their budget session. The session is expected to end next week.

Bob Geha: Two-Person Train Crew Bill Clears House

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By Bob Geha, Cowboy State Daily

A bill that would require that the crews on trains crossing Wyoming consist of at least two people has won final approval from Wyoming’s House.

Representatives voted 37-22 on Thursday to approve House Bill 79 in its third and final House reading, sending the bill to the Senate for its review.

The bill would require that all train crews in Wyoming consist of at least two people. It would also forbid railroads from proposing 1-person crews in their contract negotiations with unions.

Bill sponsor Rep. Stan Blake, D-Green River, said 2-person crews are a necessary safety measures on trains.

“When trains roll through Laramie at 50 mph, Rock Springs, they don’t stop, Evanston, they don’t stop,” he said. “Three-mile trains hauling unbelievable hazardous material … It’s scary what’s rolling through our towns.”

The measure was approved despite objections from some representative who said the state should not be getting involved with the operation of private businesses.

“I don’t think it’s government’s role to tell them what to do,” said Rep Bunky Loucks, R-Casper.

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