politics

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.

Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump wasn’t the first choice of Wyoming’s congressional delegation, but now that he’s presumed Republican nominee, they’re all embracing him in their own way.

Wyoming’s junior senator, John Barrasso, is a part of the Republican leadership team in the Senate, so he was inside Thursday’s meeting in Washington with Donald Trump. That doesn’t mean Barrasso necessarily wants to stop and talk about Trump.

“We had a very good, productive meeting and I’m late for another one right now.”

Tim Stubson

 

State Representative Tim Stubson is the third-ranking member of the Wyoming House of Representatives and a member of the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee. His next move is to try and replace U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis and become Wyoming’s next Congressman. Stubson is also a Casper attorney. He joins Bob Beck to discuss a couple of key issues starting with the declining coal market.

 Learn more about Stubson and his issues.

 

AARON SCHRANK/WPR

Meet The Candidates 

Dr. Rex Rammell is a veterinarian from Gillette. In 2008 he was an Idaho candidate for the United States Senate and in 2010 a candidate for governor.  He is author of the book, "A Nation Divided: the War for America's Soul."  Dr. Rammell considers himself a firebrand constitutional conservative who believes the answer to many of Wyoming's problems can be solved with the Federal transfer of public lands.  

The U.S. Senate put its partisan tendencies aside this week and passed a sweeping bill aimed at modernizing the U.S. energy sector. The bill includes provisions that could help the state’s ailing energy industry.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

  

Republican Liz Cheney is one of ten announced candidates for the soon to be open U.S. House seat. Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney who also was Wyoming’s congressman. Ms. Cheney has been an attorney, she’s worked in the U.S. State Department where she worked on U.S. policy in the Middle East. She also was a Fox news contributor and co-authored a book with her father. Today she talks to Bob Beck about energy issues, specifically coal. 

  

    

A diversity of ideas is good—even essential—for democracy. But during this political season, essayist Erin Pryor Ackerman sees a danger when viewpoints get polarized and rhetoric becomes vitriolic.

Caroline Ballard

  

Across the United States, women make up just under a quarter of state legislators. In Wyoming, the statistics are even worse – only 13 percent of legislators are women. That makes the “Equality State” 50th in the nation. Part of the problem is no one is asking them to run. 

Bernadine Craft is a state senator from Sweetwater County, and she is the only woman in the state senate. She says that the main reason she is there is because she was asked to run by Senator Rae Lynn Job, who once held the senate seat Craft has now.

  

Retired U.S. Senator Al Simpson has too many friends in high places. Simpson refuses to choose between close friends George Herbert Walker Bush, Dick Cheney, and others. He was at his home in Cody this week when he talked about it.

Al and Ann Simpson were getting ready for a trip to Dallas. He interrupted his packing, to talk about friendships, among other things. His friendship with George H.W. Bush is a long one.

Wyoming PBS

Next Friday Wyoming PBS will air its long-awaited documentary called Dick Cheney: A Heartbeat Away. Producer Geoff O’Gara joins us and says the two-year effort putting the 90-minute program together was interesting. He admitted that it’s tough to do a documentary on someone that most people have a strong opinion about.

Dick Cheney: A Heartbeat Away will be broadcast by Wyoming PBS on Friday, November 13 at 8 p.m. and be re-broadcast at 9:30 p.m. You can learn more here.   

Miles Bryan

People in Pinedale have a lot to say about their mayor, Bob Jones—and not much of it is nice.

Longtime councilman Tim Lingle says his day-to-day has become much more hostile since the new mayor took over.

“Do I hate him? I think that’s a bit strong,” Lingle says. “Do I wish we kept our old Mayor? Absolutely.”

Mayor Jones has also made enemies with some of the small town’s business leaders—like Tamra Watts, who runs Pinedale’s popular Wind River Brewery and restaurant.

Zach Mahone / Vail Valley Foundation

Pressure is mounting for a decision in Washington that would lift the crude oil export ban. Energy executives met with Obama administration officials last week to lobby for lifting it. This past weekend, they made their case at an energy conference in Colorado.  

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