Bob Beck

For the next two months the State’s 90 legislators will gather in Cheyenne to consider a wide range of bills. Some ideas will be dead on arrival while others should generate considerable debate. One bill that will begin in the Senate would provide Medicaid health insurance to those who cannot afford health insurance and who do not qualify for subsidies under the affordable care act.

Senator Chris Rothfuss who is the Minority Leader in the Wyoming Senate and House Minority Leader Mary Throne say that legislative savings and Medicaid expansion will be among the top discussion items during the upcoming legislative session.

It’s been 8 years since Wyoming has elected a Democrat to statewide office. This year candidate for Governor Pete Gosar and Superintendent Candidate Mike Ceballos are hoping to break through. But it won’t be easy. The Executive Director of the Wyoming Democratic Party is Robin Van Ausdall. She’s worked on several campaigns in Colorado and she says Ceballos and Gosar and great candidates. 

"If people are willing to consider these candidates individually on their merits at least if not one will be elected."

Over the years it's been a challenge to drum up political engagement on the Wind River Reservation. But things may be different this year with eight tribal members running for office in multiple parties. It's an unusually high number. Democratic Representative Patrick Goggles says it’s his theory that what has inspired so much political gusto is the shifting dynamic in the Republican Party. He says the politicizing of the right wing is happening everywhere, including Wind River.

Bob Beck

Wyoming Democrats have been in the legislative minority for a long time, but it’s been really tough lately. Only eight of the 60 Wyoming Representatives are Democrats and only four reside in the Senate.  While the party has hopes of grabbing a few more seats this year, there are not enough candidates to make serious gains. The problem started back in 1991. 

Former State Representative Matilda Hansen fondly remembers her days as a Democratic Lawmaker. When she entered the House in 1975 she had a lot of friends in the room.

Wyoming Democrats say they were mostly pleased with the governor’s State of the State message. But while they agree the state should be cautious with spending, they don’t favor reductions.  House Minority Floor Leader Pat Goggles wishes Gov. Mead had spent more time on worker safety.  Goggles says it is time get serious about the situation.

“We’d like to see more positions in compliance in terms of worker safety and work to change the culture of safety,” says Goggles.