politics

Wyoming Youth Voter Summit

A Youth Voter Summit planned for Tuesday will be the first of its kind in Wyoming. The summit is being held in response to low voter turnout by young residents.

The summit will include voter registration, panel discussions and a number of speakers, including Governor Matt Mead and Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner.

Ryan Greene

Democrat Ryan Greene has an uphill battle. He is trying to become the first Democrat to serve Wyoming in Congress since the late Teno Roncalio left office in 1978. Greene needs to defeat the well funded Republican Liz Cheney. Greene says he’s not a liberal Democrat, more in line with former Governors Dave Freudenthal and Mike Sullivan. He joins me to discuss some issues, starting with energy.  

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

You ever heard of a conference committee? Here in Washington, ‘conference committee’ is congressional speak for when senators and House members get together and try to work out the differences between their competing pieces of legislation.

Maggie Mullen

Wyoming’s economic downturn has decreased the amount of money the state gives to local governments at a time when many counties were already facing local revenue losses.

Johnson County Treasurer Carla Faircloth said her county's assessed valuation is down more than anywhere else in the state. Natrona County Sheriff Gus Holbrook said he has had to cut five positions and he predicts that may increase emergency response time.

Natrona County Coroner Connie Jacobson said like most agencies, her department is learning to do more with less.

Caroline Ballard

On a hot and sunny July day Julie McCallister readied herself for a day of campaigning at Saratoga Days, decked out in her “Elect Julie McCallister” polo.

McCallister was running for the Wyoming State House seat in House District 47.

In the art show at the Platte Valley Community Center, McCallister approached potential voters, chatting about everything from the art to why she is qualified to serve.

When Women Run, Women Win...Except When They Don't

Sep 23, 2016
Jennifer Pemberton

There are currently 10 women serving in the Utah House of Representatives and 6 in the state senate. Together they make up 15% of the 104 elected state legislators. This puts Utah in the bottom 10 states for percentage of women represented in the state legislature.

There are a lot of reasons for the disparity between men and women serving as elected state officials, but according to Katie Ziegler with the National Convention of State Legislatures, none of them has to do with electability:

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Wyoming NORML and Wyoming Purple Cross, medical marijuana advocate groups in the state, are hosting a public meeting to discuss the Peggy A. Kelly Wyoming Cannabis Act. Right now, the groups are working to get enough signatures to put the issue on the 2017 ballot. This would allow voters to decide whether or not to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein gathered enough signatures to get her name on the November ballot in Wyoming, according to the Secretary of State's office. It is the first time a Green Party candidate has qualified for the ballot in Wyoming. 

Meanwhile, Evan McMullin, who is running as an anti-Trump independent, did not gather enough signatures to make it onto the ballot. Presidential candidates needed 3,302 signatures to qualify in this year’s election.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

  

Donald Trump is wooing energy-state voters by promising a presidency that will champion coal, promote drilling and free frackers from federal regulations limiting oil and gas development.

If the Republican candidate’s energy platform sounds like it was written specifically for fossil fuel companies, that’s because an Oklahoma oil billionaire helped craft it.

Donald Trump delivered his first major speech on U.S. energy policy at a petroleum conference in the capital city of one the country’s most oil-rich states, Bismark, North Dakota.

Caroline Ballard

  

Nearly 150 years ago, Wyoming was the first place in the country to grant women the right to vote. Congress didn't pass the 19th amendment, guaranteeing all American women the right to vote, until 1919, and it was ratified by states in 1920. Wyoming was ahead of its time, giving women the vote in 1869, but there are conflicting accounts as to why the state was a trailblazer.

When The Equal Rights Amendment Came To Utah

Aug 26, 2016
Caroline Ballard

Women are only mentioned in the Constitution once: in the Nineteenth Amendment which grants women the right to vote. In 1923, suffragists proposed an amendment that would protect women’s rights across the board, but when the vote came to Utah, it was blocked by the Mormon Church.

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray says voting has gone smoothly across the state during today’s primary election. 

Murray said Tuesday that early voting for the primary was actually about 500 votes more than two years ago when the governor and all the top elected officials were on the ballot. He added that the races for U.S. House and some interesting local races in Cheyenne, Casper, and Gillette has turned out voters in those areas. But interest has been much lower in counties with few contested races.

Wyoming PBS

        

Wyoming is facing a primary election on Tuesday amid a historic downturn in the state's energy industry. In recent weeks, candidates for a variety of offices, including those running for the U.S. House of Representatives, have weighed in on the current energy situation, and how they would fix it. Our energy reporter, Stephanie Joyce, joins us now to fact-check some of those claims.

Wyoming Democratic Party

The Wyoming Democratic Party is hoping that a new progressive caucus will bring in more grassroots voices and grow the party. The idea is to attract progressive Independents and current Democrats who would like to take a more active role with the party beyond the traditional structure. 

State Democratic Party Chair Ana Cupril said Bernie Sanders inspired lots of new voters to become interested in politics and many are not interested in traditional party politics. The hope is that the new caucus will get them interested.

When U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis announced that she would not seek re-election this year, some big names in the state stepped forward, but so did a number of others, especially in the Republican Party. But their lack of cash and name recognition has made it difficult to get the same attention as two current office holders and another candidate with a famous last name. 

Four state residents are calling for an ethics investigation of State Senator Eli Bebout saying that his support of the Abandoned Mine Lands bill improperly benefited a company that he partially owns. 

The company called Nucor received AML funding as a result of the legislation, but the bill did not pay Bebout directly and for that reason the Senate rules committee allowed him to vote on the legislation. Senate Minority leader Chris Rothfuss is a member of the rules committee and said Bebout’s vote was proper.

  

When it comes to energy issues, Wyoming's delegates to the Democratic National Convention did not see eye to eye with many Democratic Party leaders or their party's platform. Correspondent Matt Laslo caught up with some of the delegates in Philadelphia and sent us this audio postcard.

Aaron Schrank

A poll commissioned by the Casper Star-Tribune and Wyoming PBS says 52 percent of Wyoming’s Republican voters are undecided in the race for the state’s lone U.S. House seat. The seat is being vacated by Representative Cynthia Lummis, who has decided not to seek a fifth term.

The poll shows that Liz Cheney is supported by 21 percent of those contacted, while 9 percent support State Representative Tim Stubson and 4 percent support State Senator Leland Christensen. But with 52 percent of the voters undecided, Cheney’s lead is not as firm as it could be.

Wyoming Legislature Service

A Wyoming legislator is hoping to change some minds during this week’s Democratic National Convention.  

House Minority Leader Mary Throne said energy is important to Wyoming and she is concerned that the Democratic platform is anti-fossil fuels. Throne added that Democrats from non-energy producing states don’t seem to understand the role oil, natural gas, and coal play in the national economy. 

 

Rhodium Group

President Obama called for Democrats to offer aid to miners in coal country during his speech to the Democratic National Convention Wednesday. It was just one of several recent attempts by Democratic party leaders to reach out to voters in largely conservative coal states. 

Earlier in the day, Hillary Clinton’s energy policy advisor told the audience at an event hosted by the news organization Politico that Democrats cannot forget coal country.

Wyoming U.S Senator John Barrasso said he’s pleased with the final Republican Party platform that was adopted in Cleveland this week. 

Barrasso chaired the committee that drafted the platform. The document has been criticized for its stance against same sex marriage, its opposition to transgender men and women using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity, and its support for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, among other things. But Barrasso said the platform represents Wyoming values.

Jason Senteney

A candidate for Wyoming’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives said he wants to require military service for 18-year-olds. 

Republican Jason Senteney of Torrington said  he wants to implement what he calls the National Service Plan where 18-year-old men and women would be required to serve two years in the military or a related job if they are not physically able. Senteney said this will get young people to respect each other and get them invested in the nation. 

Alex Fiszbein

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso has one of the more difficult jobs in Washington this summer: he’s chairing the Republican platform committee for the party’s convention. As chair, he’s charged with helping usher through a cohesive party platform at a time when the party is arguably its most divided in decades.

M&R Glasgow, Flickr Creative Commons

 

In the wake of the tragic slayings in Orlando last weekend, gun-control unexpectedly dominated Congress this week.

For Democrats the slaughter of 49 people at the Orlando LGBT club was the last straw and they’re calling for overhauling the nation’s lax gun laws. On Monday, the House dedicated a moment of silence to the victims, and Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes and a few other Democrats walked out of the chamber.

Bob Beck

Getting people to run for the legislature can be a challenge, but this year Wyoming has had no problem attracting candidates. In 2014 Democrats made a strong push to get more people to run and they came up with 32 candidates. This year the number is 64. Even Republicans have more candidates running than two years ago. Jason Swadley of Ballotpedia studies elections.

“In all of the areas where we look at competitiveness, this year Wyoming is actually much more competitive than the U.S. average.”

Ryan Greene

Wyoming Democratic U.S. House Candidate Ryan Greene is a Rock Springs native who brings an interesting background to the race. Greene works in the energy industry. Greene is one of two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to become Wyoming’s next congressman.

He says he got into the race to help the energy industry recover and to create jobs. Greene tells Bob Beck that you do that diversifying both within and outside the energy industry.

Official photo of Representative Cynthia Lummis

Last month President Obama took a historic trip to Southeast Asia to strengthen U.S. ties in the region and promote a 12 nation trade deal. If Congress were to sign off on it Wyoming could benefit. That’s because it would lower tariffs on U.S. meat exports while also making it easier for energy firms to export gas overseas.

WYOMING PUBLIC MEDIA

Welcome to a special edition of Open Spaces from Wyoming Public Radio News. We bring you a conversation about Women in the Wyoming Legislature…and why there are so few of them. This panel was recorded live earlier this year at the Leap Into Leadership conference, in conjunction with Leadership Wyoming Class of 2016. We’ll hear about some of the barriers that women face when they want to run for office.

We’ll discuss why it’s important to have women in the legislature, and how we can better encourage women to run for office. 

Donald Trump laid out his thoughts on U.S. energy policy during a speech today at an oil industry conference in Bismarck, North Dakota.  

Trump spent much of his time bashing what he referred to as Hillary Clinton's "extremist agenda."

 

As for his agenda, Trump wants to bring back jobs in coal, oil, and gas by rolling back what he called an onslaught of federal regulations and also by producing more fossil fuels.

 

Leland Christensen

 

State Senator Leland Christensen is among the Republican candidates hoping to replace Congressman Cynthia Lummis in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lummis announced late last year that she would not seek re-election and it led to a surge of interest in her seat. Christensen has an extensive political background as both a Teton County Commissioner and a State Senator.

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