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Wyoming Republicans were dealt a setback in their efforts to keep sage grouse off the federal endangered species list.

House Republicans were able to include a provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit the federal government from changing the conservation status of sage grouse for the next decade. But the provision was left out of the final bill when House leaders negotiated a final bill with their Senate counterparts. That didn’t sit well with members of the lower chamber.

Bob Beck

  

Over the last several years a number of right leaning activist groups have gotten themselves heavily involved in Republican politics in the state. WyWatch was a group that pushed anti-abortion and family value legislation and Wyoming Gun Owners pushed for expanded gun rights. But the group with perhaps the biggest impact is the Wyoming Liberty Group.  

Matt Micheli

Wyoming U.S. House Representative Cynthia Lummis is rumored to be on the short list for Secretary of the Interior in the Trump administration and the Wyoming Republican Party is doing what it can to make that happen.

State party chairman Matt Micheli said at this point it’s just a matter of trying to put in a good word in Washington.

“You know the transition team is assembled and there are people on the transition team that I know well," he said. "We can raise our hand and say ‘hey.'”

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University of Wyoming Political Scientist Jim King joins us to talk more about the Trump Presidency.

There’s lot of speculation about how Trump will operate now that he’s president-elect. King joins Bob Beck to discuss that and what some Wyoming residents said before the election.

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It was a good election night for the Republican Party, not just nationally, but in Wyoming as well. The party added a seat in both the state house and senate and elected Liz Cheney to replace Cynthia Lummis in the U.S. House. GOP party chairman Matt Micheli said they also added new faces and a bit more diversity.

“Affie Ellis and Tara Nethercott are two new people coming to the state senate, but I think both are going to be outstanding legislators and leaders of this state.”

Forward Wyoming

Two organizations the Wyoming Republican party alleged violated campaign finance laws sent official responses to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office. 

The Wyoming GOP said that mailers sent by Forward Wyoming Advocacy were actually paid for by a progressive political consulting firm, but not marked as such. 

But the Executive Director of Forward Wyoming Advocacy, Sydney Stein said in a press release that while her organization contracts with ELLA Wyoming for data management and web design, they are not one and the same.  

Pete Souza - Official White House Photo

  

 

With President Obama heading out of office soon, Wyoming lawmakers fear he’s preparing a slew of executive orders that could hurt the western economy.

The president has already done executive actions on everything from the energy policy to immigration. Some have been upheld by the courts, while others have been struck down. But court cases take years, and that has Republicans like Wyoming Senator John Barrasso worried that Obama is going to use his pen on the way out of office.

Gage Skidmore

  

Have you heard many western issues pop up in this election cycle? Neither has Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis. She said the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is actually missing a golden opportunity to attract independent voters in the west.

“I know that western issues are taking a backseat to national issues in this campaign, and I get that. But when we’re out in the west, when states like Colorado and Nevada are in play, there are issues that are unique to the west that a presidential candidate can capitalize on.”

Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney is the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. She is a former Fox News commentator, an author, the co-founder of the Alliance for a Strong America, a former U.S. State Department official and attorney.

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi will soon be entering his 20th year in the Senate. Enzi has had a long political career that began as Mayor of Gillette and included time in the Wyoming House and Senate. Enzi currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and is the former chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee among others.

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. 

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.

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.

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

 

President Obama and Republicans in Congress are squaring off on the nation’s spending priorities for the year. Wyoming Republicans are proving an especially pointed thorn in President Obama’s side on the final budget he sent to Congress.

Wyoming lawmakers are laying down their legislative priorities for the New Year, but the state’s Republicans doubt they can get much done with a Democrat in the White House.

President Obama is fresh off a quick campaign style jaunt across the nation where he tried to rally support for his agenda, which ranges from gun control to finding a cure for cancer. But Republicans, like Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, said that the president started the year on the wrong foot by announcing he was taking executive action on gun-control.

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Remember when Democrats controlled Congress a few years back? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had stout majorities back then. Yet even then Democrats couldn’t get legislation passed to combat climate change. So why is the Obama administration preparing to go to Paris to promise the world drastic emission reductions from the United States? U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis said the answer is simple.

“Oh, he’s bypassing Congress.”

Lummis said President Obama isn’t being honest with global leaders as he’s promising lavish reductions in CO2.

  

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.

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Now that the Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage, conservatives in Congress, including Wyoming Republicans, are debating how to protect religious groups who disagree with the ruling.

Many congressional conservatives fear the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling will force religious people and institutions to do things against their faith. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso said some are worried about the ruling.

“I think any people of faith always have concerns about anything that comes out that interferes with their belief, religion, and their faith.” 

Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

  

Republicans in the U.S. House have created a new position charged with overseeing the Interior of the United States, which includes the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis is being tapped to head up the new investigative subcommittee. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is famous for dragging in Major League Baseball players during the steroid scandal.

Flickr Creative Commons, User Ron Cogswell

Republicans now control the gavels on Capitol Hill, but last week they were given a stark reminder of how limited their power is here in the nation’s capital when President Obama delivered his State of the Union address where he touted recent economic gains.  

"So the verdict is clear. Middle class economics works," Obama said. "Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work as long as politics don’t get in the way. We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns."

Bob Beck

A controversial piece of legislation intended to let people practice their religious beliefs in daily life received approval from the House Judiciary committee. House Bill 83 is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Republican Nathan Winters of Thermopolis wants to keep the government from forcing people to do things that are contrary to their religious beliefs. 

Linda Burt of the American Civil Liberties Union fears it could go too far.

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.

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As Republicans prepare to take charge of the U.S. Senate, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso is chairing the committee that sets up the Republican agenda. Senator Barrasso says they have a number of topics to get started on.

What would the nation’s energy policy look like if Republicans capture the Senate this November? Matt Laslo caught up with Wyoming lawmakers and energy analysts to find out the potential impact on the state’s energy sector if the GOP gains control of the upper chamber.

During the last two elections Wyoming Republicans campaigned on repealing and replacing so-called Obamacare – but House Republicans have yet to vote on a replacement. Matt Laslo has a look from Washington on the debate dividing Republicans in Congress.

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This summer there's been a big push by the nation's powerful teacher unions to completely revamp the nation's standardized tests mandated under No Child Left Behind and then revamped with the new Common Core standards. Wyoming Public Radio’s congressional reporter, Matt Laslo, has the story on how the state’s congressional delegation is fighting for the state’s interests on the issue.

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.

Bill Winney

Three Republicans are seeking the nomination for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. One of them is Bill Winney. He is a retired Naval Officer who wants to bring that leadership experience to help run the state department of education. In the Navy he trained a number of people and says training and education were a key part of his career.

This week’s Supreme Court ruling on the EPA and its ability to regulate carbon is a mixed bag for Wyoming officials and energy producers. It sets the stakes even higher for Republicans in the state who are determined to derail a pending EPA rule on climate change.  

Like most all things here in Washington these days, the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the EPA is being read along party lines. But Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi says it’s not just partisanship. He says your opinion also hinges on where you’re reading.

This week President Barack Obama unveiled his budget, which the Wyoming congressional delegation says would cripple the state's economy. Matt Laslo has the details from Washington. 

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