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Wendy Schuler: Fairness In Women’s Sports Act Would Have Protected Females

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By Sen. Wendy Schuler, guest columnist
Schuler is a Republican Senator from Evanston, Wyoming

The Wyoming House leadership made the decision not to bring SF 51–Fairness in Women’s Sports to the floor by not assigning it to a committee.  Disappointing?  Absolutely.  

As legislators, when we are asked by constituents to solve a problem or an issue, we take it on and put our whole heart and soul into it.  

As a former female athlete, long time coach of females, and an advocate for girls and women, I am passionate that their rights to equality are paramount.  

This bill would ensure that our girls and women get a fair shake when they step onto the field or court.  

This is a bill about biology and fairness and it was NEVER about being “mean” as one of my Senators remarked during debate.  

When your biological daughter, granddaughter, niece, or female cousins get left behind while others who ‘identify as females’ take their places on the court or in the pool, or field are you going to be ok with that?  I think not.  

There may not be large numbers now, but there are 50 transgender athletes competing right now in college women’s sports teams with potentially 100 more in the process of transitioning.  

We don’t have data on high school trans athletes but there have been 48 hearings at the high school level on trans issues, and there are approximately 1.4 million transgender persons in our country.

We shouldn’t wait until we see what the numbers look like in Wyoming. We know we have issues that are here already and the safety of our girls and women should also be of utmost concern for our citizens.   

If your daughter is the one on the sidelines who is left out of playing time, recognition, and scholarship opportunities then maybe those who oppose this bill will see the fairness issue up close and personal.

Eleven states have passed legislation and more are in the process.  This bill is constitutional and so then the issue comes down which side do you want to choose?  

Our girls and women have enjoyed the benefits of Title IX legislation for 50 years and even though our world has changed, they should still have the same benefits of a level playing field as their mothers, grandmothers, and female relatives have had since 1972.

Transgender athletes have other opportunities with co-ed sports and mixed level sports where biology is NOT a factor. 

If we allow the loopholes that are allowed by the WHSAA, we will see even more equity problems by allowing those with gender identity issues to compete whenever they wish, and the fairness factors will go out the door. We have women’s sports for a reason. 

Wyoming residents have reached out in overwhelming numbers in support of this bill.  Their voices are sometimes not heard by some of our media outlets, but they are out there and they want to see the Legislature be pro-active with this issue.  

Let’s keep our biological women and girls competing in female sports and continue to celebrate their successes!

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Rex Arney: How Wyoming Dealt With the Roe v. Wade Decision in 1973

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By Rex Arney, guest columnist

On December 1st, as I listened to the oral arguments in Mississippi abortion case that seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade, I had a flashback to 1973.  In early January of that year, I was sworn in as a freshman member of the Wyoming House.  Just 13 days later the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v. Wade.

The Roe decision, and its timing, caught the Wyoming Legislature by surprise and it was unprepared to address an issue as controversial as abortion during the 1973 session.  Nonetheless, since Wyoming’s abortion law only permitted abortions in cases when necessary to preserve the life of the mother or in cases rape and incest, this landmark decision rendered Wyoming’s law unenforceable.  This meant that the Legislature needed to act if Wyoming was to have an abortion law that was enforceable.

On January 29th, just seven days after Roe decision, two bills were hastily drawn up and introduced in the Wyoming Senate, one provided penalties for performing abortions, and the other included the “viability” stage in the pregnancy before which abortions could be legally performed.  Given that nearly one-half of the 40-day legislative session had already passed, both houses of the Legislature had to act quickly on this legislation.

After approval by the Senate, both bills were referred to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Alan Simpson.  I was one of the nine members on that committee.  The bills were thoroughly discussed and amendments were proposed, following which the bills were submitted to all members of the House for further consideration.

My “flashback” took me to the debate on the “viability” bill.  After 48 years, one’s recollection tends to fade, but my memory of the debate was almost as if it took place yesterday.  The debate began late one afternoon and extended into the early evening hours – probably not the best time to debate a subject of this magnitude.

The gallery was jampacked with observers, many of whom were recording the debate or taking notes, while others were leaning over the railing in an attempt to get a better view of members who were speaking.  I didn’t know if this was an effort to intimidate members, but as a legislative newbie, I was not about to stand up and say anything. 

The discussion on the bill was long and the heated, reaching a fever pitch at times.  At least one member broke down and cried.  Yet, the debate was civil and the members were respectful of one another’s views.  Following the debate, the bill was approved on a voice vote and two days later the bill passed the House by a vote of 49 to 11. 

So far so good, but the Senate did not concur with the House amendments to the bill.  A conference committee was appointed in an attempt to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill.  However, no agreement was reached and the bill died. 

On the other hand, the bill providing for penalties of up to a $10,000 fine and five years in prison for violating the law passed and was signed into law, only to be struck down by the Wyoming Supreme Court in August, 1973, leaving Wyoming without an enforceable abortion law.

By 1977 I had moved to the Senate when the Legislature next tackled the abortion issue.  A comprehensive bill passed and became law that included Roe’s “viability” provision and, also, provided penalties for violating the law with imprisonment up to 14 years for performing or assisting in an abortion after “viability”. 

This law is essentially the same today as when was passed in 1977 with only a couple of amendments.  There have been numerous efforts to further amend the law, as recently as during the 2021 session, but they have failed. 

Given that the composition of the Supreme Court is far different from what it was in 1973, most observers expect that the Court will either repeal or modify Roe v. Wade. 

If this happens, there will be a flurry of activity in the state legislatures around the country seeking to reduce allowable abortions to 15 weeks after conception, as in the case of the Mississippi law, or even to shorter period.  It is likely that the Wyoming Legislature will be among those legislatures taking it up.

While abortion was controversial before the Roe decision, the debate largely took place outside the political arena.  That has since changed. 

Today, abortion seems to be even more controversial than it was prior to Roe, partly because it has become politicized. The polarization along party lines is highlighted in Jonathan Lange’s December 1st column in the CSD in which he pointed out that Wyoming’s three Republican members in Congress, along with several Wyoming GOP legislators, have signed onto amicus briefs supporting Mississippi’s efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.  

While I enjoyed my years in the Wyoming Legislature, I am glad not to be serving in that body when abortion is next debated.  I have been there and done that.  This time I will be an interested observer; perhaps sitting the gallery, if there is room. 

Gordon: Government Should Be Limited With As Few Regulations As Possible

in Mark Gordon/Column

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By Gov. Mark Gordon, guest columnist

Wyoming has always been about small government and limited regulations.  These are core values to me. I remember well my father working to protect Wyoming’s Right to Work laws.  Our family eagerly supported Malcolm Wallop’s successful Senate bid in 1976.  He was unshakeable in his conservatism and fought constantly against government overreach. In fact, one of the most memorable political ads of all time was Malcolm taking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to task for ridiculous regulations. It featured a puzzled cowboy preparing to head out on the range, and having to strap a portable toilet to a pack horse because of OSHA’s overregulation.  It was a great ad that highlighted wrongheaded regulations crafted in DC that lack awareness of what makes sense on the ground.

Big government is a cancer.  As a conservative Republican I have, and always will support the rights of private individuals and their rights as business owners to operate their enterprise as they see fit. We need fewer regulations, not more.  I oppose growing government interference.

As I write this, OSHA is preparing new rules that purport to shape how businesses must operate across the country. In this instance, it is a mandate that employers require that their employees get a COVID-19 vaccine. And there are other hair-brained ideas on the way, including those that would force health care facilities to require vaccinations in order to receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.  Holding our seniors and Medicaid recipients hostage is just plain wrong. 

This federal overreach is plainly unacceptable.  Let me be clear: Wyoming will use every means at our disposal to thwart these efforts to erode our rights. I have directed Wyoming’s Attorney General to work with other states to prepare for litigation once the vaccine mandate regulations are released. 

From the outset of this Biden threat, Legislative leadership and I have been aligned in our steadfast opposition to federal overreach.  Rest assured, we have heard similar sentiments from all corners of the state.  Together, we are working hard on behalf of Wyoming.  However, I will not support state over-reach into our private and business lives.

As chief executive of Wyoming, I’m acutely aware of the limits imposed on my office by our Constitution and the statutes passed by our Legislature.  Wyoming’s statutes do not provide the Governor with unlimited power.  For example, Wyoming’s brand of Executive Orders (EOs) do not give the Governor the same tools that the Texas Legislature has given their Governor. Because Wyoming’s Governor does not have statutory authority to enforce an EO similar to Texas’ Governor, I have not issued one. Frankly, I am not disappointed because I believe in my core that Wyomingites don’t want a supreme executive in the first place. Government must be held in check.

The Wyoming Legislature has the authority to call itself into session when they are so inclined.  Their process is not easy, and it isn’t meant to be.  Wyoming prides herself on a citizen legislature made up of men and women with jobs, businesses, and obligations that are not wholly political in nature.  We are blessed that we do not have a “political class” as found in New York, California, or Illinois.  Wyoming has avoided that pitfall by limiting the days that our Legislature can be in session, thereby assuring that our legislators continue their other work, and concentrate on politics as a service. 

The Legislature is following its process.  I look forward to continuing to work with them to see that we protect the rights of Wyoming individuals and businesses. It is, and always has been, a delicate balance.

Ultimately, I remain committed to conservative Republican principles: minimal government closest to the people, individual liberty, and the freedom to operate your business unconstrained from government mandates. I will always stand for the Constitution and the rule of law.  I was proud when former President Donald Trump recognized Wyoming’s limited regulations when I met with him at the White House in 2019. I continue to be proud of our state’s commitment to keep out of the business of our citizens and their businesses.

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Hageman: I Followed Same Progression As Most Wyomingites With Trump, Cheney

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By Harriet Hageman, guest columnist

Five years is a long time in politics. And if you’re reading this, there’s an excellent chance you’ve followed the same path as I have.  

Like many Wyoming voters, in 2016 I was skeptical about Donald Trump, a New York businessman and TV personality.  I worried that he didn’t understand Wyoming, our issues, challenges, or industries.  

Also in 2016, like many Wyoming voters, I supported Liz Cheney for our only seat in the House of Representatives. She promised to pursue our conservative values while fighting the Democrat establishment in Washington, DC.    

I was wrong on both counts, but I wasn’t alone. Most Wyomingites shared my views in 2016 and most of them agree with me now. In fact, I followed the same progression as many of my fellow Wyomingites, starting five years ago and leading up to today.

In 2020, Wyoming voted for President Trump and Liz Cheney by similar large margins, about 70 percent. We elected them to serve as a team to look out for and represent OUR interests. Cheney turned on Trump, but Wyoming and I have not.

I was a Ted Cruz Delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention as were most of my fellow Wyoming Delegates.  Senator Cruz was a Texan who understood western issues, a strong constitutionalist, and a committed conservative. But when Trump became our nominee, we rallied behind him to defeat Hillary Clinton.  

The night of November 8, 2016 was beyond exciting; the corrupt Clinton Machine had been defeated. Over the next four years, President Trump proved himself to be a truly great president, and I wholeheartedly support his America First Agenda.

He proved that he did understand Wyoming: our desire to be left alone by Washington, our demand for regulatory reform, our need to control our own property rights and destiny, and the importance of the responsible use of our abundant natural resources to attain energy independence.  

Today I am honored to have President Trump’s endorsement of my campaign for Congress. We remain in regular contact with him and his team, receiving words of encouragement and expressions of confidence in our victory next year.

In contrast, my dissatisfaction with Liz Cheney began before the 2020 election, when she showed that her first instinct was to attack President Trump without knowing the facts.  The New York Times ran a story alleging that Russia was paying bounties to militants to attack American troops in Afghanistan. Liz Cheney then did exactly what the press and the Democrats wanted her to do: she attacked President Trump and fed the false narrative. We now know that the Times story was baseless, but it exposed something disturbing about Liz and foreshadowed what we have seen since the 2020 election.  

Anyone with a lick of sense knows how corrupt the press has been in covering President Trump, with many false stories planted to prevent him from succeeding.  The question is: Why would Wyoming’s lone Representative allow herself to be used by the media and Democrats to further a false narrative?

Further, as a Constitutional attorney, I cannot fathom how Cheney could side with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in an impeachment proceeding that denied the President of the United States the due process to which he was entitled.  Her vote for impeachment betrayed Wyoming, the Republican Party, and me.  

At a time when we needed all hands on deck, Liz Cheney jumped ship, dogpaddled to the other side, and started shooting back at us. When it counted, we couldn’t count on her.  Her ongoing attacks against President Trump are, in reality, attacks against the vast majority of Wyomingites, and she knows it.

I regret that I supported Liz Cheney when she ran first for Senate and next ran for Congress to represent the great State of Wyoming.  She has pursued an agenda that neither I nor the majority of Wyoming supports.  

The point of having an election every two years is so that we can hold our elected officials accountable and to correct course as necessary.  We have the right to do that with Liz Cheney, as many of us once supported her but no longer do. She doesn’t represent Wyoming and she doesn’t represent us.  

Think of it this way: Liz Cheney was last elected with nearly three-quarters of the votes cast by our 280,000 registered voters in Wyoming. According to Leslie Stahl of CBS News, her approval rating is now at 30 percent. She has lost the support of over 100,000 voters in Wyoming, including me.  Ask yourself if you fall in that camp as well.  

The facts are simple:  Wyoming went one way and Liz Cheney went another. She should be held accountable, and we are entitled to vote her out of office.

Harriet Hageman is a Wyoming native, an attorney, a former Republican National Committeewoman from Wyoming, and a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Wyoming.

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COLUMN: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Volunteer Directors React To Patagonia Rejection

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By John Carney, Robert Grady, Eric Macy, Dennis Nau and John Valiante

As independent members of the board of directors of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, we wanted to offer our perspective on how the business is run, how it serves the community, and the path forward.

We offer these perspectives as folks who are Democrat, Republican and Independent, moderate, liberal and conservative — just like America, and just like our employees and guests. The resort welcomes guests and employs fantastic associates who have a diversity of views. We welcome them all, as we believe that diversity is good for our company, our community, and our country.

Guest experience: For the last two and a half decades, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been a very well-run ski and all-season resort. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has invested in the future, over $230 million since 1994 in valuable capital improvements, including a new Aerial Tram, a new Sweetwater gondola, new chairlifts (Apres Vous, Casper, Teton, to name a few), vastly improved snowmaking and grooming, and a better guest experience. The result is that Jackson Hole enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the best ski resorts in the world. In recent years, Jackson Hole has been ranked first among American ski resorts by Ski Magazine and by Forbes.

As owners the Kemmerer family has reinvested the overwhelming majority of the resort’s profitability into building a stronger, more stable and sustainable resort, focused on creating a superior guest experience and a welcoming and safe environment for employees.

Community Benefit: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort employs 1,900 permanent and seasonal employees, making us the largest private employer in Teton County and the region. Our commitment to be a great employer with competitive compensation and generous benefits ensures a strong economic base for the community and employment opportunities in a great industry.

 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is also a leader in employee housing construction at Powderhorn, Rabbit Row and other sites; in transportation initiatives through bundling START passes with season ski passes, and through our collaboration with Teton County and others to create the Teton Mobility initiative and secure a major Federal BUILD grant; in making air service to western Wyoming possible through our leadership in funding the JH Air alliance with other businesses in the community; and in supporting community groups with mountain access and with support for initiatives in Jackson’s vibrant non-profit sector. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort strongly supports its role in maintaining a strong, sustainable community.

A Green Resort: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been a leader in the ski industry in reducing energy consumption, recycling consumables used by our employees and guests, and treating the spectacular natural habitat which surrounds us with vision and care. Years ago we were one of the first ski resorts to secure ISO 14001 status, and received the National Ski Area Association’s Golden Eagle Award for environmental excellence. Today the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is 100% powered by green (renewable) energy.

Health and safety: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is deeply committed to keeping its guests and employees safe. In the last year and a half, coordinating closely with the Teton County Health Department and the state of Wyoming, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort took steps to protect our employees and guests from the COVID pandemic — requiring masks indoors and in lift lines, putting a cap on the number of skiers per day, limiting the number of riders on the tram and Bridger and Sweetwater gondolas, and ensuring social distancing. Today the resort’s policy is to recommend strongly that all employees and guests be vaccinated. Any unvaccinated employee is required to wear a mask at all times, and all are required to wear masks indoors within 6 feet of others, regardless of status.

For many years we have had the privilege of lending our efforts where we could and of watching Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s outstanding leadership and management team build a spectacular resort with a global reputation. We have been extremely fortunate as a business and as a community to have the sound and patient stewardship of the Kemmerer family, a family with deep Wyoming roots that has extended that stewardship to major support of nonprofits and community initiatives in Teton County and throughout the state.

We state with confidence that Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a forward-looking, community-oriented organization that is committed to best-in-class guest experiences and work environment to our employees, to protecting the environment, and to keeping guests and employees safe. We have seen what a wonderful asset this is for our state and our community, and we know the ownership, the board, the management team and the employees of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort are committed to making it even better in years ahead.

(This originally appeared in the Jackson Hole News and Guide)

John Carney, Robert Grady, Eric Macy, Dennis Nau and John Valiante are independent (non-owner, non-employee) members of the Board of Directors of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Guest Shots are solely the opinion of their authors.

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Lange: Can Liz Cheney Give Americans What They Justly Deserve?

in Column/Jonathan Lange

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

Hours after Representative Cheney (R-WY) broke from her 190 fellow Republicans to establish a “House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,” she wasted no time in accepting a Democrat appointment to it. This move gave Pelosi’s Committee a façade of bi-partisanship and pre-emptively undercut Republican threats to boycott its own committee appointments.

On June 30th, Cheney issued a press release stating, “This investigation can only succeed if it is sober, professional, and non-partisan. The threat to our democracy is far too grave for grandstanding or political maneuvering. The Committee should issue and enforce subpoenas promptly, hire skilled counsel, and do its job thoroughly and expeditiously. The American people need and deserve a full accounting. We must ensure that what happened on January 6, 2021 never happens again.”

Indeed. On this point everyone is agreed. The substantial questions are: What really did happen on January 6, and can this committee conduct a “sober, professional, and non-partisan investigation? After two embarrassing impeachments, and three years of peddling the fraudulent “Steele Dossier,” American’s may rightly be skeptical.

“The American people need and deserve a full accounting.” That is true. The committee’s subpoena power and legal resources must be employed to examine aspects of January 6 that have, so far, been withheld from the American public. If congress wants to rehabilitate its public credibility, here are some things that should be investigated thoroughly and transparently.

The investigation should begin with the days leading up to January 6th. What did congressional leaders know, and when did they know it? All communications from the Intelligence Community, D.C. Police, and Capitol Police should be subpoenaed. Leadership from both parties should be placed under oath—beginning with Cheney—in order to determine why multiple security requests were denied.

Next, the Committee should subpoena the 14,000 hours of CCTV captured by cameras around the Capitol and owned by the American people. This evidence should be made public. For six months, the Department of Justice has used highly edited snippets to prosecute over 500 citizens. But it has denied access to defense attorneys, claiming that the tapes are state secrets. 

More than an hour before anybody entered the Capitol, video shows  troops in riot gear shooting stun grenades and pepper spray without warning at law-abiding citizens. The attack appeared unprovoked. The group, including small children and the elderly, had crossed no barriers nor were they threatening to do so. Were the unidentified troops federal agents? Or were they agent provocateurs?

The American people deserve to know the full extent of what was done to peaceful protesters. Were some those that breached barriers truly driven by the President’s speech just beginning over a mile away? Or were they reacting to a more immediate threat? Releasing all the video footage from that day would provide necessary transparency.

Third, every death should be vigorously investigated. Before the first door was breached into the Capitol, a man died of a reported heart attack. Soon, a second died from a reported stroke. Then, a woman was trampled. What accounts for such a high death rate in a relatively small crowd? Did chemicals, munitions or police procedures contribute to these tragedies? Were federal officers following crowd safety protocols.

The only shot fired on January 6th was aimed at the throat of Ashli Babbitt. The Capitol Police officer who killed the unarmed woman still has not been formally identified. This most violent event of the entire day ought to receive the fullest and the most painstaking investigation. Who was the shooter? What were his rules of engagement? What training did he receive? What was his service record?

The next day, Officer Brian Sicknick died of a stroke. For months it was falsely reported that he had been struck by a fire extinguisher. Who planted this false information? And why did it take more than 100 days to release the autopsy that disproved it? 

Days later two other officers died in apparent suicides. Who investigated their deaths? What evidence is conclusive that they died of suicide linked to January 6th? Who made the initial decision to connect their deaths to the Capitol? What evidence did Cheney have in hand when she asserted that they died “as a result of what happened that day.” 

Also, before the smoke had cleared from January 6th, Cheney began pushing the narrative that the crowd acted to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes.” How could she know either the motives of 500 individuals, or whether they were acting in coordination? 

This is irresponsible behavior for a public official. Worse, it is extremely prejudicial to the investigation she now wishes to lead. “The American people need and deserve a full accounting.” Will they get it? Or, will they only get more “grandstanding [and] political maneuvering”?

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Harlan Edmonds: Governor Gordon’s on a Roll

in Column/Harlan Edmonds

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By Harlan Edmonds, columnist

We live in a country deeply divided and growing more so every week.

And yet, we are all Americans. We share a common history and partake of inherited blessings that have grown out of long-shared ideals. As such, it’s important to appreciate the good in our political system when we find it.

The American system has allowed men to be free for longer, achieve dreams faster, and pass those freedoms and dreams down to their children and grandchildren for generations.

Of course, no system is perfect.

And those we elect to represent us in it are perfectly human, which is to say, perfectly flawed. This is why we should never forget to applaud good leadership and good policy when we find it, even when it is proposed by those we often disagree with.

As an illustration of this, I wish to congratulate Governor Gordon, who was not the first choice of Wyoming’s conservative majority to become the chief executive of our state.

Even so, he did run as a Republican and has often claimed to be a devotee of conservative principles. And in recent weeks he has demonstrated some courageous conservative leadership worthy of recognition.

First was the announcement that by 2028, Wyoming will be getting its first new nuclear power plant. And it’s not just any old nuclear power plant, but a first of its kind “Natrium” design, featuring a sodium-cooled fast reactor along with a molten salt energy storage system. 

This project was awarded initial funding by the U.S. Department of Energy, which is investing nearly $2 billon to support the licensing and construction of the reactor. Between 2,000 and 3,000 construction jobs will be generated along the way, with 300 to 400 permanent positions to follow once it is built. 

This is a major win for Wyoming and could help to restore America’s energy independence, which was so recently thrown away. Mr. Gordon should be commended for taking the political risk of tackling such a complex, long term initiative.

The next policy point to be applauded was the Governor’s recent attempts to bring the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) national headquarters to Wyoming. The NRA is currently deciding where to move their headquarters after the decision to leave New York.

Wyoming couldn’t be a more fitting place to host them. Wyoming has the third highest gun ownership numbers in the country with 66.2% of citizens owning a gun; only Alaska and Montana are higher. We are a state passionate about our Second Amendment rights.

It may not seem like much to some, but Wyoming would be the perfect place for the oft embattled NRA to defend and expand its generations-long role as America’s foundational gun ownership association.

Mr. Gordon was bold and farsighted to make this ask and we can only hope the NRA has the common sense to seriously consider us.

Even though they may ultimately decide to go somewhere else, Wyoming NRA members should follow Gordon’s lead and voice their support of this move now before the decision is made. Supplementing the Governor’s letter with more Wyoming voices could turn the outcome in our favor.

Last but not least, and very politically impressive, was Governor Gordon’s announcement that he, in collaboration with Wyoming Homeland Security, is considering requests by Texas Governor Abbot and Arizona Governor Ducey to have friendly states provide assistance with the restoration of law and order at the U.S. – Mexico border.

The magnitude of this border crisis unprecedented, and it is wise of Governor Gordon to not dismiss this request out of hand, but rather to take the time to learn the facts and to decide how best Wyoming can help.

Mr. Gordon had previously offered aerial support valued up to $250,000 but found ultimately it did not fit the needs at the border. But the fact he is on record as recognizing the threat to our nation if we do not secure our borders is something he should be congratulated for. It is the right policy position.

Wyoming citizens would do well to write or call Mr. Gordon and let him know they support the use of our National Guardsmen or any other resources to secure our border and thank him for working to provide the right assets to Texas and Arizona. 

While for many it may seem ridiculous to congratulate a politician on doing the right things, it is one of the best ways forward for our nation. Why?

Because our politics have become far too angry, far too personal, and far too ugly. We are a country addicted to outrage, to the point that thanking an elected official seems ridiculous. It shouldn’t be.

Good policy positions should be applauded and more of the same should be encouraged. Outrage will never change someone’s strongly held beliefs on an issue and perhaps kindness won’t either, but it is better for us going forward to focus more on policy and principles, and less on personality.

Being able to thank someone you don’t always agree with is a good lesson in civility. We could use more of that. 

These past few weeks Governor Gordon has made some excellent policy points. He’s had to make tough, unpopular decisions during the pandemic, but now, as we come out the mess of Covid-19 there is no reason not to recognize these good initiatives, especially those that could bring much needed jobs and resources and heightened morale to our state and to some of our communities that need it the most.  

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Opinion: Plant-Based Meat Producers Need To Stop Misleading Consumers About Beef

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By Kevin Killough, Powell Tribune

It’s unlikely that many Wyomingites are going to embrace the Impossible Burger anytime soon. These faux-meat products compete with the real thing, and we don’t call it the Cowboy State for nothing. With ranchers eking out a living on thin margins, the growth of the faux-meat industry is just another problem for them to contend with.  

Using a genetic engineering process, Impossible Foods, the maker of the plant-based Impossible Burger, created a verisimilitude of the same protein found in red blood. It allows their simulated meat to bleed and sizzle like real ground beef. Whether it tastes the same as real meat depends on who you ask, but there are those who swear it does.  

This is the reality of the free and open market. You can be the king of the hill one day and then someone comes along with a new way of doing things. In the end, consumers end up with more choices and more opportunities to find that thing that’s just right for their individual needs. Though it can be disruptive to established producers, competition improves things for everyone.  

With better branding efforts, Wyoming cattle ranchers are trying to market our state’s beef to Americans and consumers across the world. Not only do Americans love a good steak, consumers in Taiwan, for example, associate Wyoming beef with a mystique of the American West. Reaching these consumers’ taste buds with bonafide, verifiable Wyoming beef could open up a lot of doors for the future of ranching in the state.  

This marketing effort adheres to a key value in the cowboy code — honesty. We’re not pulling any punches when we say our beef is the best. Perhaps the statement is seasoned with a bit of pride, but there are no embellishments or exaggerations. If you don’t believe us, just try a bite. You’ll see.  

Unfortunately, those promoting the Impossible Burger don’t market by the same cowboy code. Jessie Becker, Impossible Foods’ senior vice president of marketing, gave an interview recently on SiriusXM Business Radio’s Marketing Matters about the company’s ultimate goal, which they say is to eliminate animal agriculture by 2035.  

Becker argued that the way people eat is contributing heavily to climate change.  

“The biggest thing that people can do is not change your car to electric … or add solar power to your roof, but actually to stop eating animal meat,” Becker said.  

Contrary to claims of faux-meat producers, ranching is not a significant contributor to climate change. Transportation, heating, lighting and manufacturing produce about 80% of all greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions in the United States. By comparison, agriculture contributes 9% of the total GHG emissions, and animal agriculture is only 2.6% of the total. If everyone in the United States became full-on vegans today, it would be a minor blip in the effort to address climate change.  

Becker isn’t the first to exaggerate the impact that cutting meat would have on climate change. Anti-meat groups promote the idea humans could cut their carbon footprint in half by going vegetarian. This is misleading in that it would apply only to that portion of the carbon footprint that is food related. More optimistic figures are often based on a total vegan diet and not just vegetarian. According to a 2015 Swedish study, going vegetarian would cut the average person’s GHG emissions by only 2%.  

In her interview, Becker also said that up to 45% of the planet’s land that isn’t covered in ice is devoted to raising cattle. That’s compared to the land devoted to humans, including cities, which is just 1%.  

This is a lot like comparing how much space at the grocery store is dedicated to shampoo and how much is dedicated to pet food. The fact the pet section generally takes up more space than hair care products doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with pets.  

Cattle graze primarily on marginal lands that aren’t suitable for growing crops. It’s too rocky, or it lacks irrigation or moisture. Grazing isn’t eating up land that would be used for other purposes.

It’s also worth noting that beef — which is packed with zinc, iron, protein, and B vitamins — is more nutritionally dense per calorie than any other food.  

There’s nothing wrong with plant-based meat products trying to find a market and offering consumers new choices. It would be nice if the companies making these foods would stop trying to sell them with misinformation about their competitors. Wyoming beef producers can run honest campaigns that rely solely on the quality of their products. Why can’t their competitors do the same?

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Gordon: Trump Administration Policies Have Benefited Wyoming

in Mark Gordon/Column

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By Gov. Mark Gordon, guest columnist

America’s economy has been hamstrung by COVID-19 and revitalizing it must be the essential mission of the next administration.

Key to that recovery is the need to explore and responsibly develop America’s energy and minerals. This President recognizes that a healthy country must be free.

That a free people are a healthy people anxious to build a vibrant economy, a strong health care system and a country able to stand on her own two feet as the envy of our globe.

Such a country, a people, an economy can lead the way to solving the most urgent problems facing our nation not by holding our people down, but by energizing their enterprise and recognizing their capacity. 

Wyoming has benefited from the Trump Administration’s policies that have helped to expand our weakened economy and get more people back to work quickly. 

Wyoming’s abundant natural resource assets are fueling our state’s economic recovery and underpinning our nation’s resurgence. Resources such as coal, natural gas, wind, oil, soda ash, helium, uranium, and what are often referred to as critical or rare earth elements are essential to almost every aspect of modern life.

New products like cell phones, batteries, composites and other high-tech materials play a critical role in our national defense and our everyday life. These products will power our economy, clean our environment and allow us to pursue this work more thoughtfully.

We are the leading producer of coal, uranium and soda ash. The world’s largest known naturally occurring trona deposit, the primary source of soda ash, is a geologic gift to Wyoming. We export nearly $1 billion worth of soda ash, and the industry employs approximately 2,300 workers earning an average salary of $100,000.

Next time you drive, remember that your windshield probably contains a part of Wyoming. Just as they do in so many industries, China subsidizes its synthetic and natural soda ash industry creating an unequal playing field for our soda ash companies.

President Trump’s continued efforts to establish fair trade policies has benefited this Wyoming industry.

Moreover, this President recognizes that COVID-19 has drastically reduced demand in the glass market. His support of a temporary federal royalty rate reduction for soda ash is important to the long-term viability of this industry – a good thing for Wyoming jobs and the local and state revenues they will bring.

The previous administration established policies that were designed to crush Wyoming’s coal industry. These were policies which ruthlessly promoted market changes, not to benefit consumers, but to decrease the use of coal for electric generation.

President Trump’s efforts have been focused on addressing the real issue: how to intercept and remove CO2 from our atmosphere. His support for the funding of Carbon Sequestration Utilization and Storage projects recognizes coal’s role in a reliable, reasonably priced, carbon-emission limited energy future.

America’s economy grew because of low-cost electricity from coal for many decades.  We have learned better, cleaner ways to use it, and we along with the rest of the world deserve the opportunity to utilize it. Wyoming, like the Trump administration, is for an all energy cleaner future.

Fortunately for Wyoming, we are now seeing that coal can be used in a variety of products for roads and other construction materials. In addition to being an excellent filter for purifying water, new research also indicates that many critical elements can be found in coal and coal ash. 

President’s Trump’s efforts to enhance US production of such products can only bode well for Wyoming.  

Wyoming could also be the uranium supplier to the US. President Trump’s Nuclear Fuel Working Group (NFWG) pointed out that the US has lost its place as the world’s leader in nuclear energy due to Russian- and Chinese-subsidized markets.

That decline is an issue of national security.

Once again, the President’s willingness to take on difficult trade issues is welcome. In addition, the NFWG recommended that we expand the existing nuclear fuel supply by 17 to 19 million pounds beginning this year.

Finally, the President proposed a strategic uranium reserve in his budget. These efforts could allow the Wyoming uranium industry to create new jobs and help secure our Nation’s uranium supply.

And what is more important to Wyoming than our water, which is critical to our agricultural, energy, outdoor recreation, and mining industries. Wyoming knows best how to manage our waters. It’s a fight we have had to continually take up.

Malcolm Wallop led the charge 40 years ago and now, thankfully, we have had an Administration which respects our values.

The regulatory changes we have seen under EPA on two of the most important water matters to Wyoming: repeal of the Obama-era Waters of the United States and replacement with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and Clean Water Act Section 401 reform, are nothing short of monumental.

Wyoming thanks the Administration for these bold efforts.
This Administration respects states’ rights.

They have gone to bat for us on many fronts, from appointing judges more prepared to interpret the law than make it, to understanding decisions are best made closest to the people.

As we emerge from this crisis I look forward to continuing our work with the Trump Administration. Wyoming will be stronger and much better off because of it. 

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