Capitol Onlookers Say Budget Session Was Fast, Controversial
We just heard legislators discussing some of the issues of the past session, but we also chatted with some who attended the session. Wyoming Public Radio intern Erin Jones got some reaction from a variety of onlookers.
KERRY DRAKE: Yeah, my name’s Kerry Drake. I live in Casper. I’ve covered sessions clear back to 1977. I’m very disappointed in some of the fairly right-wing extreme opinions that are being expressed in the House. I don’t think that necessarily translates to what the average person in Wyoming feels, particularly on the Medicaid expansion issue, which is what I’ve been covering the most. They’re not looking out for the people in Wyoming. They’re looking out for their own political careers. They have enough money to do basically what they came down to do, so it’s not as contentious as most sessions are. Everybody seems on edge, they seem to want to get out of here. I’m with them, I want to get out of here too.
BRUCE HINCHEY: I’m Bruce Hinchey with the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. I’m from Casper. Well, it’s a little bit better than last year, last year there was a lot of discontent with everyone. At least I don’t see people nearly as irritated with each other this year, as they were last year.
RANDY DYESS: Randy Dyess. I’m the mayor of Buffalo, Wyoming. So I’m just over here rocking the Capitol. It’s just a great opportunity to get to witness how this all works. I enjoy coming down here. That’s what this is for, it’s for us to root out everything that we don’t like, or root things in that we do like. This is our system, it works good.
CINDY POMEROY: My name is Cindy Pomeroy. Cheyenne, Wyoming. Oh, I think it’s going fairly well, I think it’s always hard work for the legislators that come down here and try to do a lot of work in 20 days, and they’re always well-intended and do the best they can, and I think Wyoming has the greatest system in the country.
SHANNON ANDERSON: Shannon Anderson. I lobby for Powder River Basin Resource Council. We’re a statewide conservation group based in Sheridan. This is my, I think, sixth session down here, so I’ve been lobbying a number of years down here in Cheyenne. You know, the budget sessions are always so fast and furious, legislators work incredibly hard and long hours to get the budget down, which is always the priority. There’s also, you know, a share of controversy too, I think, that seems to have a flavor of the session a little bit. All of those kind of big-picture questions that the state’s facing right now, just the way that coal may not be as important a source of revenue in the future. Some of those big questions I think have also been giving an overarching flavor to the session.
SYDNEY SMITH: Sydney Smith, Sheridan, Wyoming. This is my first time here, so I’m really excited to come intern here in the future. Now that I’ve kind of seen what it’s about, and seen all the lobbyists, and the senators, it just, this is what I want to do.