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Landon Brown: What Do We Want From Politicians?

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By Landon Brown, guest columnist
Brown represents District 9 in the Wyoming House of Representatives

When I ran for office in 2016, it was a different time politically.  In only 6 years, the landscape of politics has changed dramatically.  We, collectively as a society, have changed what we want/seek in politicians.  It has raised the question in my head, what do we want from a politician?

I can almost be certain there isn’t a single individual in an elected position in this state that would say they are doing the job they are in because of the money. 

First and foremost, Wyoming has done an amazing job at keeping politicians in check with a system that promotes service above self, even in our highest-ranking positions, i.e. governorship, county sheriff, or even the legislature. 

Do we want politicians that work for even less than we pay now?  Should we reduce the pay, as I have heard many times regarding these positions, to something even lower than they make now?  Would that attract the right type of individual to run for these offices? 

I would posit that this would allow only those who are independently wealthy to run for office, and thus creating a large distrust in government – even more than we have today.

How about a politician that “rides for the brand”, only that brand is simply the brand of a Republican or Democrat (we also have other parties)? 

Would this serve our desires to only want those candidates that agree with their party platforms and planks 80-100% of the time?  Where is the room for dissension?  Is that the definition of an echo chamber?  What if we elected based on character and ability to speak their minds without fear of repercussions from the party? 

It is my understanding of the Wyoming and United States Constitution that the people dictate those that represent them, not the party system and their planks or platforms.  If we had more politicians willing to stand up and dissent with their party on individual topics, we may be able to have more valuable discussions on ways to solve problems instead of simple name calling and blaming.

Would you prefer a politician that speaks the truth or one that tells you what you want to hear? Some would say they want both and that would be great in a utopian world, but in our world today, most people want the truth told to them.  In today’s politics, many would rather have someone that says the right words and stands behind the veil of a party platform for protection.

Our currently political system is getting harder and harder to find qualified and well-intentioned people to run for office because of these (and a many additional) issues. 

Think to yourself: Would I want to wake up to emails, texts, calls, voicemails etc… on a daily basis, blaming, chastising, arguing, fighting, threatening, or complaining with no solution other than you don’t vote the way I want you to? 

How about the name calling that has started from the Republican Party itself – calling RINO (Republican in Name Only) to anyone who dares have a differing opinion than they do at that level. 

Personally, I don’t see any of those that are labeled as RINOs going out and blaming our problems on them or others that they disagree with.  What I see is differing levels of opinion and the ability and willingness to discuss our differences – something we should ALL aspire to do more often.

Our political system isn’t perfect, it never will be, and we can’t simply divide and conquer.  We are so divided as a nation, state, and even locally, that it won’t take too much work to start having productive conversations rather than blaming others for all our misfortunes. 

Wyoming still is what America was in many ways, but unfortunately, we are falling victim to outside influence, partisan attacks, and internal degradation.  We all need to do better and realize that politicians put their lives in the public eye, are willing to take the heat for things that they may or may not have direct control over and are putting service to their respective office above their own gain.

The next time you want to disagree, do it decently.  The next time you want to ridicule or degrade a politician – ask yourself if you would want the same done to you.  Wyoming is better than what we’ve seen lately, let’s do our best to fixing it one person (yourself) at a time. 

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Landon Brown: Why The Wyoming Legislature Is Effective

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By Rep. Landon Brown
Landon Brown (R-Cheyenne) is a state representative from Cheyenne

In the coming weeks, you are bound to hear about the handful of bills, that either passed or died, that were on the Republican Party’s list of approved bills to support. 

In that same list you will undoubtedly hear about those that chose to not support the “party platform” or represent their people (Republicans only).  Please keep in mind, many legislators represent many other people beyond just Republicans in their district.

What you won’t hear about is the massive amount of work that was completed by your member in the Wyoming legislature that had NOTHING to do with politics but had everything to do with performing our duties as legislators. 

Over 441 pieces of legislation were filed within in the legislature ranging from turning federal lands to state control, to antique vehicles, and even the treatment of animals.

Your legislator spent hours upon hours every day and every night going through these bills and casting votes to make Wyoming a better place.  The vast majority of these bills that passed each house and will ultimately be signed or vetoed by the Governor were passed with a large majority of both chambers.  Very few of the bills passed had a large contingent opposing most bills – why? 

Simple, really.  Much of the work needed to get done to make Wyoming a better place isn’t contentious. 

It’s is not easy to know what is going on in every piece of legislation, but the fact is, we rely heavily on those that bring pieces of legislation through the process to guide Wyoming’s lawmakers in the right direction. 

There is a ton of deference provided to those that have specialized backgrounds and understandings of the bills they are propose and work through the process.  The vast majority of Wyoming’s policy discussions aren’t political – they’re work.

The next time you see the “list of names” that attempts to demonize those that may have voted in a certain way for a select handful of bills – remember, these are not the people’s work. 

The people’s work was done in the large majority of legislation that made Wyoming better for the future.  Most of the work completed by the legislature was done with little to no fighting or blaming another side or party for not acting. 

Wyoming’s work was completed, with passion, by your legislature and always has been, since 1893.

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Wyoming Legislator Calls on GOP Chair Eathorne To Resign After Secession Comments

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At least one Republican legislator isn’t happy with Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne’s recent statement that he’s looking with interest at fringe efforts in Texas to secede from the nation.

Rep. Landon Brown (R-Cheyenne) on Tuesday called on Eathorne to resign for his comments about former Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s podcast regarding his interest in secession.

“Floating the idea of secession as a party plank or statement is contradictory to my stance as a Republican,” Brown tweeted. “This idea is pathetic and ill advised – I am appalled that our chairman thinks he has this authority.”

Eathorne has received national attention for last week’s comments on Bannon’s show.

“We are straight talking, focused on the global scene, but we’re also focused at home. Many of these Western states have the ability to be self-reliant, and we’re keeping eyes on Texas too, and their consideration of possible secession. They have a different state constitution than we do as far as wording, but it’s something we’re all paying attention to,” Eathorne said.

The idea of secession, however, was too extreme even for Bannon, who said he is  “absolutely, 1,000% against any even discussion of secession.”

Rep. Brown told Cowboy State Daily that Eathorne’s comments in this instance and others have been too divisive for Wyoming.

“Frank Eathorne has done nothing but ostracize Republicans who don’t agree with him,” Brown said. “He does not represent the values of the Reagan-era GOP and I think we need to support Republicans in the party, not fractionalize the way our chairman has done.”

Eathorne and the Wyoming Republican Party have been critical of Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s call for impeachment of President Trump.

“We are receiving the message loud and clear that what happened yesterday [Cheney’s vote for impeachment] is a true travesty for Wyoming and the country,” said a statement from the Wyoming Republican Party.

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