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Wyoming GOP Applauds Legislators Contesting Electoral College Votes: “This Is The Time To Fight”

in elections/News/politics
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Republican Party is praising U.S. senators and representatives who are willing to contest the results of the Electoral College votes in the presidential election.

“We applaud those U.S. Senators and Representatives willing to stand against election fraud and object to certification of the ill-gotten swing States’ Electoral College votes on January 6th,” the organization wrote in a New Year’s post on their website.

The party, in its website, also linked to a story from The Epoch Times from Dec. 22 that discussed various Republican senators who stated their intention on Jan. 6 to contest the certification of the results of the election between President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden.

A request for comment from Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne went unreturned as of Wednesday afternoon.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, on stated his intention to contest the results on Tuesday. Sen. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, has also confirmed he will contest the results.

“It is reasonable for the American people to expect that a majority of the U.S. Senate will refuse to certify the election, since Republicans control the Senate,” the Wyoming GOP wrote in its post. “This is no time to compromise with Democrats. Efforts to appease them will be for naught if Biden is sworn-in. If Biden does prevail, he should enter the White House with a well-earned stain of illegitimacy that a full Senate refusal to certify would ensure.”

The GOP also encouraged Wyoming residents to call on their congressional delegates, U.S. Sen.-elect Cynthia Lummis and U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, to request they also contest the vote.

“As Republicans, our Congressional delegation are all members of the Wyoming Republican Party so they should see no conflict in riding for the Republican brand and standing up for our most precious Constitutional right – the right to vote in free and fair elections,” the GOP wrote.

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Lummis: Critical That Republicans Win Senate Races in Georgia

in News/Cynthia Lummis
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State

It is critical that Republicans win two U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia to maintain the Republican majority in the Senate and stave off the adoption of liberal policies, U.S. Sen.-elect Cynthia Lummis said Monday.

“If both of those races go Democrat, then the Democrats will control the Senate by virtue of having the president of the Senate be Kamala Harris, the vice president of the United States,” Lummis said during an appearance on Fox’s “The Daily Briefing” with Dana Perino.

The senator-elect added that if Democrats took over as Senate majority, there would be Supreme Court packing, an end to filibustering and fines for gun owners.

“These are ridiculous consequences, these are monumental consequences,” she said.

Lummis also addressed Trump’s economic policies, which said had been beneficial to both rural and urban areas.

She expressed hope that the country could continue using Trump’s economic policies even if Biden was sworn as president in on Jan. 20.

“We need to separate people who just dislike President Trump’s temperament and personality from his policies, because they are great for America,” she said.

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Cheney: Constitution Requires Peaceful Transfer Of Power

in News/Liz Cheney
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

In the wake of comments made by President Donald Trump regarding the possible transfer of power after the presidential election, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney issued a reminder about the constitutional requirements for the transfer of power.

Cheney, in a tweet issued Thursday morning, wrote that a peaceful transfer of power was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and fundamental to the survival of the republic.

“America’s leaders swear an oath to the Constitution,” she wrote. “We will uphold that oath.”

On Wednesday during a news conference, Trump was asked by a reporter whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power following the election if he lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The reporter noted that earlier this year, there was rioting in Louisville, Kentucky, the city where EMT Breonna Taylor was killed in a nighttime raid on her apartment by police while she was sleeping.

On Wednesday, a grand jury brought up three charges of wanton endangerment against former officer Brett Hankison, who was fired after Taylor’s death, for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s where people were inside, according to the Associated Press.

Protests broke out following the grand jury’s decision and two officers were shot in Louisville.

After the reporter brought up riots in Louisville, he questioned whether or not the president would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost the election.

“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump responded. “You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

When the reporter asked again about Trump committing to the transfer, the president remarked it wouldn’t be transfer of power, but a continuation, implying he would win the November election.

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Barrasso: Trump Administration Definitely Focusing On Science

in News/Coronavirus/politics
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso dismissed any notions that President Donald Trump’s administration doesn’t listen to scientists, saying White House officials are “definitely” focusing on science in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The senator appeared on PBS News Hour this week to discuss various topics, from the Trump administration to the Republican National Convention.

Host Judy Woodruff referenced Trump’s recent touting of using blood plasma as a potential coronavirus treatment, noting scientists urged him and other White House officials to not say that, as there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove the theory yet.

When she asked the physician/senator if Trump was listening to science, Barrasso laughed.

“Science is being focused on, which is why so much effort is being done in coming up with a vaccine,” he said.

He added that the coronavirus vaccine would be the fastest vaccine development in history.

Woodruff also questioned Barrasso’s opinion on what the president’s responsibilities were and should be when it comes to a pandemic.

Barrasso said President Donald Trump was acting boldly earlier this year when he shut down travel between the United States and China, where the coronavirus originated.

He also pointed out that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Trump’s actions for shutting down travel, even though the virus was proven to be originated in China.

Barrasso added the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed with coronavirus testing in the early days of the pandemic, but then said the CDC’s performance had improved over the months, with more than 72 million coronavirus tests completed as of late August.

He then criticized New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, noting the most coronavirus-related deaths in the United States have occurred in New York.

“We know that the governor of New York let people go, with the disease, from the hospital back to nursing homes,” he said. “We can always do better. As a doctor, I will tell you, we’re still learning a lot about this disease.”

However, Barrasso said he was hearing from fellow Republicans and Wyomingites that they want a path forward from the coronavirus that allows them to go back to work and get the disease in the “rearview mirror.”

Barrasso again criticized Pelosi before ending his appearance, saying she wanted to pass a bill over the weekend relating to the United States Postal Service but “unrelated to jobs, the needs of the American people, trying to get kids back to school or the vaccine.”

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Wyo State Representative: America First Means Bringing Troops Home, Not Starting Another ‘Forever War’

in News/politics
2672
Wyoming State Representative Tyler Lindholm

By Ike Fredregill, Cowboy State Daily

With tensions high in the Middle East, now is the time to increase efforts to bring U.S. troops home, according to a state representative who has been a vocal supporter of ending military involvement in the region.

Following the U.S.-ordered killing of Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Friday, Iran retaliated with two missile strikes Tuesday on military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq, but no casualties were reported.

“It’s kind of this tit-for-tat game going back and forth, and the only ones that suffer are the troops,” said Rep. Tyler Lindholm, R-Sundance. “If we’re going to be serious about putting Americans first, we need to start bringing home the troops.”

Lindholm, a U.S. Navy veteran, took his anti-war message to Washington D.C. in November as a leading member the Wyoming branch of Bring Our Troops Home (www.wybringourtroopshome.com). 

The non-profit organization was founded with a goal to end “the Forever Wars and encourage Congress … to support President (Donald) Trump’s plan to withdraw our troops.”

But as the U.S. prepares to send 3,000 additional troops to Iraq amid heightened concerns of a war with Iran, Lindholm said continued military action in the Middle East would only serve to hurt future generations of Americans.

“I do believe these actions are a divergence from Trump’s previous message,” he said. “I liked that Trump was kind of known for not listening to some of his intelligence advisers, but that seems to have changed. Those are the same advisers that got us into this whole quagmire 20 years ago.”

After assassinating Soleimani via drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq, U.S. officials said the strike was meant to prevent an imminent attack on Americans. 

“The current narrative we’re being told is Soleimani operated in Iraq and led terrorist types of organizations,” Lindholm said. “They do seem to have lots of evidence pointing to lots of Americans killed because of Soleimani’s actions, but (in the early 2000s) they also had lots of evidence pointing toward lots of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

While some top officials have labeled Soleimani a terrorist for his role in overseeing extremist militia groups’ recruitment and training, Lindholm said the U.S. has a different term for engaging in similar activities.

“When it’s used against us, it becomes terrorism,” he explained. “When we do it, we’re teaching ‘freedom fighters.’ I think it’s a fine line.”

Lindholm said the U.S. has been involved in the funding or training of many militant groups throughout the last several decades.   

“I think it speaks to the larger issue in the U.S.’s current foreign policy of heavy interventionism,” he said. “I’m not saying the U.S. shouldn’t protect our interests, but a lot of what is currently being seen and what we’ve experienced in the last 20 years could arguably be called blowback over our interventionism.”

Going forward, the U.S. should rely more on diplomacy and economic sanctions than military force, Lindholm said.  

“I gotta hope this is over,” he added. “There’s been shown no benefit to the American people from these types of actions in the past or as it currently stands.” 

Recent events deepened the rift between Republicans and Democrats, and in some cases, party members returned to more traditional stances on America at war.

“The anti-war left has suddenly shown up again,” he explained. “A lot of my Republican friends are screaming, ‘Bomb them.’ When has that ever worked, besides losing more American lives?”

Soleimani’s killing and Iran’s retaliation could lead to a bipartisan effort to reduce the executive powers of the Authorization for Use of Military Force set in place in 2001 and used to justify actions throughout the Middle East, including Syria.

“I think think the silver lining to all this is people, left and right, will start to want an end and hopefully work toward it,” Lindholm said.

Since Soleimani’s death, both Rep. Liz Cheney and Sen. John Barrasso issued statements in support of the president and the actions of his administration against Iran.


Looking ahead: What 2020 will mean for Cowboy State

in Column/Bill Sniffin
2020
2628

By Bill Sniffin, Cowboy State Daily

I can see clearly now – the year 2020 will emerge as one of the most important years in Wyoming’s history as various trends emerge.

Like the perfect score on an eye test, 2020 has the makings of perfect vision when it comes to trying to identify issues important to the state. But wait; there is both excitement and dread. Is this the year for some exciting innovations to catch hold in the state?  Is this the year when our spending excesses catch up with us?

State leaders are looking for some home runs in job development.  Maybe more firearm companies will move here. Can we slow down the devastating blows to the fossil fuel industry, especially for coal?

The Legislature meets for its biennial budget session on Feb. 10 and you can bet some hellfire rhetoric will be heard about how “robbing our rainy day fund” is driving the state to the poor house.

Yet the facts will show we have over $1 billion in that fund and some $20 billion in other funds stashed in various coffee cans from the permanent mineral trust fund.  Going broke?  Compared to other states, Wyoming is a beacon of good financial governance.

Gov. Mark Gordon is not one of the shrill voices as he suggests austerity will be with us for a while. Rather than across the board cuts, he likes each agency head to adjust his or her budget in ways that make sense to it and to the state.  Tough decisions are expected to be made and some folks will lose their jobs. 

I am looking forward to covering the Legislature in its brand new remodeled digs.  State Sen. Eli Bebout reminded me that I was wrong in my last column about how much was spent on the remodeling. The correct number is $301 million, or $500 for each man, woman, and child in the state. By the looks of the place, the future will show that it was a good investment.

Looking ahead to 2020, I hope the statues of Esther Hobart Morris and Chief Washakie are placed back outside by the entrance of the building, where they belong.

Some 300 miles northwest of Cheyenne, the huge National Museum of Military Vehicles in Dubois will open in May.  Dan Starks has created Wyoming’s newest great museum.  Folks, this is going to be a treat. You have no idea just how big and how impressive this museum is going to be. It is a game changer for tourism in the western part of the state.

Commercial air service made some big changes when Sheridan, Riverton, Gillette, and Rock Springs all became aligned with United-SkyWest.  We have seen some amazing experiments in state and federally subsidized air service in these communities over the past ten years.  This new plan should be helpful for everyone.

The national election in 2020 will have ramifications in Wyoming. A Donald Trump reelection could provide an economic boost through his support of fossil fuels and his reducing anti-fossil fuel policies from taking effect. Trump’s efforts to improve Ag trade with China would be welcome, too.

In Wyoming, we will elect a new U. S. Senator. The assumption is that current U. S. Rep. Liz Cheney will run.  Former U. S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis is already running hard.  Former Gov. Matt Mead says he is not and Jackson GOP Megadonor Foster Friess says he is weighing his options.

If Liz Cheney moves up to the Senate race, the race for her House seat could be one of the all-time donnybrooks in Wyoming election history.  For political observers, this will be an exciting year in Wyoming.

Two big important jobs will be filled in 2020. The University of Wyoming will hire a new president after trustees did not renew Laurie Nichols contract in 2019.  Also, the Wyoming Business Council will be seeking a replacement for Shawn Reese.

The move toward more transparency (like 2020 vision?) will soon be getting one of its first big tests.  State Sen. Tom James (R-Rock Springs), has requested a list of every Wyoming school employee and his or her salary as he goes into the Legislative budget session.  Lots of folks are complaining and do not want that information out.

Some years ago, the Casper Star Tribune annually published a list of the highest paid state employees showing his or her wages. This request by Sen. James opens the door for some media outlet to also disseminate the list. 

Gov. Gordon and State Auditor Kristi Racines have both showed initiative when it comes to transparency. Will 2020 be the most open year yet?  Let’s hope so.

I am a big fan of the Rachel’s Challenge program, which works with schools to prevent bullying, teen suicides, and school shootings. It looks like 2020 will be a banner year in Wyoming as more schools sign up for the program.

There will be a push to have Wyoming join the federal Medicaid program, which will save the Cowboy State millions of dollars and provide needed medical service to many needy people.  Also on the medical front, there will be efforts to have medical facilities be required to publish their “cash/self-pay” prices for procedures and medical drugs.

Gov. Gordon is also leading an effort in 2020 to have the Public Service Commission investigate Rocky Mountain Power’s new plan, which will close most of its coal-fired power plants sooner than expected. 

Gordon is also working hard to open some ports somewhere where Wyoming coal can be shipped overseas.  Again with a Trump administration, there is promise for this development in 2020.

Also on the energy front will be the development of thousands of new giant windmills, as we see the state slowly transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources in 2020.  The state’s biggest solar project is also due to be expanded, north of Interstate 80 in SW Wyoming.

Figuring out a way to pay for all the maintenance on Interstate 80 will see the beginnings of exploring a tolling system.  Meanwhile, it is hoped that Wyoming drivers pay better attention and fasten their seat belts more in 2020. The 2019 year was deadly on the state’s highways.

We can’t write a column like this without mentioning musical superstar Kanye West and what he is doing in Park County. Now that will be an interesting story in 2020 as he continues to expand his businesses there.

Let’s hope that with a year named 2020, we can maintain a clear vision for Wyoming’s future that improves the lives of its 580,000 citizens.

Happy New Year!

Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books.  His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find more stories by Bill Sniffin by going to CowboyStateDaily.com.

President Donald Trump swept Wyoming in 2016: Will 2020 be a redux?

in News/politics
2020 election in Wyoming
2630

By Laura Hancock, Cowboy State Daily

In 2016, President Donald Trump cruised to victory in Wyoming, winning around 70 percent of the popular vote and every county except Teton – one of the highest victory margins in the country. Will 2020 be any different? 

His net approval rating in Wyoming remains strong – having only decreased by 5 percentage points since taking office. In November, his approval rating was 66 percent, according to Morning Consult, the technology and media company that has the only regular publicly released presidential approval ratings that include the Cowboy State. 

“The good news is the president is going to win Wyoming,” said Teton County GOP Chairman Alex Muromcew. Even if he could lose Teton County again. 

“I think it’s a likely possibility, in addition to Teton, we could see Albany County going for whoever is the Democratic nominee for president,” said Joe Barbuto, chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party. “I think it’s safe to say we’ll not see him winning by as nearly large of margins in other counties.”

Trump infrastructure in Wyoming

In comparison to other states, Trump’s campaign is modest in Wyoming at this point. 

The Wyoming Trump Victory Team has four honorary chairs: Gov. Mark Gordon, U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, said Samantha Zager, a spokeswoman for Trump Victory, the fundraising committee for his reelection effort. 

The campaign at this point is not as involved in Wyoming as, say, battleground states such as Ohio, where the state director for the Trump campaign was announced a month after the 2018 election.

Pennsylvania’s state director was announced in May. Wisconsin’s was in July. Additional staff in each state have been hired. 

In New Hampshire, staff has already been hired and fired. 

In Wyoming it appears there are no paid Trump reelection staff yet. 

Wyoming GOP

In 2016, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz won support from most of Wyoming’s 29 GOP delegates at both the county conventions and the state party convention – Wyoming Republicans use both conventions to apportion delegates before the national convention. 

Wyoming GOP Chair Frank Eathorne declined an interview to discuss the 2020 election, referring questions to Trump Victory.

When asked how the president’s popularity could be leveraged in down-ticket races, Eathorne said a grassroots plan was underway, but he said in a text message he couldn’t discuss it. 

Barbuto predicted in many communities, Democrats will have to campaign harder because they won’t ride the coattails of Trump’s high popularity, as their Republican opponents can. But in other communities, there may be opportunities to talk about the president’s 2016 campaign promises and whether they came to fruition.

“This is an incredibly difficult economic time for Wyoming,” he said. “Everyone knows that. We see our traditional revenue sources declining. Before Donald Trump came into office, he made promises about what he would do for coal in states like Wyoming. Up until 2018, his party controlled the House and Senate. And they weren’t able to get it done. That’s because there’s economic factors that are at play here, beyond the control of the president.”

Teton County, and the Democrats

Muromcew, the Teton County GOP chair, has no doubt of Trump’s support among registered Republicans in the county. But to win a majorty of votes, a candidate has to appeal to independents in addition to Republicans. 

“What makes (Teton County) unusual, politically, is that in terms of registered voters, we are about a third Republican, a third Democratic and a third independent,” he said. “…The challenge for (Trump) is to get that independent vote. And I think that is true for all Republican candidates running for office in Teton County — whether it’s local, state or national.”

It’ll be up to each candidate about whether they want to run on a pro-Trump platform in Teton County. Last year, Muromcew ran, unsuccessfully, for the Wyoming House as a write-in candidate. 

“My sense is, when I ran for office last year, I tried to make my platform more about local issues, rather than it be a referendum on national issues,” he said. 

Barbuto had a similar sentiment. 

“Democratic candidates are going to be talking about the issues facing their community — topics like access to quality health care, diversifying our state economy, finding new revenues and most importantly, jobs to their communities,” he said. 

2016 Presidential Election Totals

CountyTrumpClinton
Albany County 7,6026,890
Big Horn County 4,067604
Campbell County 15,7781,324
Carbon County 4,4091,279
Converse County 5,520668
Crook County 3,348273
Fremont County 11,1674,200
Goshen County 4,418924
Hot Springs County 1,939400
Johnson County 3,477638
Laramie County 24,84711,573
Lincoln County 6,7791,105
Natrona County 23,5526,577
Niobrara County 1,116115
Park County 11,1152,535
Platte County 3,437719
Sheridan County 10,2662,927
Sublette County 3,409644
Sweetwater County 12,1543,231
Teton County 3,9217,314
Uinta County 6,1541,202
Washakie County 2,911532
Weston County 3,033299
Statewide174,41955,973

In Brief: Wyoming native Wallace to be nominated to Interior Department post

in News/wildlife
Rob Wallace
1331

A Wyoming native who served as chief of staff to a former Wyoming governor and U.S. senator will be nominated to serve as an assistant secretary within the U.S. Department of Interior, President Donald Trump announced Friday.

Trump, in a news release, announced his intent to nominate Rob Wallace as assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.

Wallace, now a Jackson resident, served as chief of staff for both former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer and the late U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop.

He has also served as assistant director of Legislative and Congressional Affairs for the National Park Service, Republican staff director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and managed U.S. government relations for GE Energy for 17 years.

Wallace currently serves as president of the Upper Green River Conservancy, a group created to restore and manage healthy sage grouse landscapes while allowing for energy development and ranching.

Trump’s announcement was welcomed by members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation, who said Wallace’s experience has made him particularly well suited for the job.

“Throughout his long and distinguished career, Rob has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to striking the proper balance between wildlife conservation, habitat management and use of our public lands,” said U.S. Sen. John Barrasso. “His experience and leadership in Wyoming and in our nation’s capital are ideally suited for this critically important job.”

“Rob is a Wyoming native and has extensive experience in public service and in working with the National Park Service,” said U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi. “It is important to fill positions like this with qualified people who understand the West.”

Wyoming congressional delegation welcomes end of Mueller probe

in News
1167

By Cowboy State Daily

The end of the special investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign by Special Counsel Robert Mueller should free members of Congress to focus on important issues, according to members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney both said that in the wake of the finding that the president did not work with Russians to sway the outcome of the 2016 election, it is time to move past the issue.

“Now, it’s time to move on,” Barrasso said in a prepared statement. “My focus will continue to be on growing the economy, expanding opportunities and improving the lives of people in Wyoming.”

Cheney singled out members of the Democratic Party for raising the allegations that were ultimately dismissed by Mueller’s investigation.

“They have peddled falsehoods about the president, making one scurrilous claim after another,” she said. “As we go forward, it’s time for Democrats to put aside their partisan agenda of attacking this president and instead focus on addressing the real issues facing the American people.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi joined Cheney and Barrasso in welcoming the outcome of the investigation, but he pointed out that the report did conclude that Russia did attempt to interfere with an American election.

“It is important we do not get distracted from what has always been the true issue at hand,” Enzi said. “Russia’s egregious efforts to interfere with our electoral process … are a serious threat to our country, and I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues to address this.”

Barrasso and Enzi also both indicated they would welcome the release of as much of the report as is possible.

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