Harriet Hageman, Wyoming’s new voice in the U.S. House of Representatives, will visit Jackson on Friday.
This is the first public visit by Hageman to Jackson since being elected, and comes just over two weeks after she was sworn in. It also follows years of discontent with congressional representatives who scarcely have made time in public for the residents of Teton County. In 2017, activists in Jackson and across the state hosted a series of town halls calling attention to the Wyoming delegation’s absence.
Hageman framed her visit — and two others planned for the next week — as making good on a campaign promise to “host a town hall every year, in every county” in the state.
“These meetings are to provide regular updates, listen to our constituents’ ideas, and be open and accessible to all Wyomingites,” Hageman said in an emailed statement that announced the meeting. “I am excited to begin our series of town hall meetings on our very first week away from Washington.”
Hageman will be at Teton County Library, 125 Virginian Lane, from 8 to 9 a.m.
Her visit comes during the first “district work period” of the 118th Congress. The session ended Jan. 12 and will reconvene on Jan. 24.
It also follows Hageman’s first few votes in the House: votes for Kevin McCarthy as speaker, for anti-abortion measures and for resolutions condemning attacks on pro-life facilities, groups and churches.
Who shows up?
When Hageman ousted Rep. Liz Cheney in August, some Teton County Republicans said they voted against Cheney because of her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — and because they hadn’t seen much of Cheney locally.
Cheney did appear in Teton County at a ticketed, moderated forum about election integrity in March, and she held a private fundraiser in Wilson roughly a week before the primary. She also conceded on the Mead Ranch.
Cheney spent much of the campaign season appearing on national television in her role as vice chair of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. That, combined with her vote to impeach Trump, irked Wyoming Republicans, who voted overwhelmingly for the former president in the 2020 election.
Hageman, meanwhile, appeared at least twice at the Exhibit Hall at the Teton County Fairgrounds — and elsewhere around the state. The events were largely attended by Republicans, but open to the public.
But Hageman didn’t evade criticism for her public presence. She declined to debate her Democratic challenger, Lynette Grey Bull, and other minor party candidates at an October debate.
The Fort Laramie attorney made a name for herself challenging the Clinton-era roadless rules and unsuccessfully ran for governor against Mark Gordon in 2018.
In the summer of 2022, Hageman campaigned as an ultra-conservative opposed to abortion and federal overreach, using conservative talking points like a “federal government that doesn’t seem to work for us anymore,” “out of control spending” and the “radical Biden agenda.”
She also engaged with hot button culture war issues, saying at a rally in Casper that Wyomingites were “fed up” with critical race theory, “boys competing in girls’ sports,” the “radical abortion industry” and “our government and universities censoring conservative thought, canceling debate and rewriting history.”
Hageman also said the 2020 election was “rigged” and a travesty.
How has Hageman voted?
Since arriving in Washington, Hageman has been a reliably conservative vote in Congress. In the imbroglio with a group of far-right Republicans over House leadership, Hageman voted for Kevin McCarthy in all 15 roll call votes, joining conservatives like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., in backing the new speaker.
McCarthy visited Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for a fundraiser a day before the August primary and called the election a “referendum” on the Jan. 6 committee, which Hageman roundly criticized.
Hageman also voted for the rules package McCarthy negotiated with his detractors, a package that bans consideration of any bill that would increase mandatory federal spending and restores a single representative’s ability to call for a vote to remove the speaker. House Democrats changed that rule in 2019, but it earlier led to Ohio Republican John Boehner’s resignation as speaker in 2015.
Hageman since has joined Republicans in party-line votes unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.
She voted for the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act, a measure that would rescind about $71 billion of the $80 billion the Biden administration and Congress allocated to the IRS under the Inflation Reduction Act. Later, she cast a ballot for a committee to investigate the “weaponization of the federal government” — Republicans’ answer to the Jan. 6 committee, and an attempt to investigate a perceived bias in federal law enforcement against conservatives.
Hageman also has voted for two abortion-related bills.
One, dubbed the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” requires doctors to care for “any infant born alive after an abortion.” The penalty would be up to five years of jail time, though mothers would not be prosecuted. The second measure is a resolution condemning attacks on pro-life groups.
Hageman also joined Democrats in voting for a measure prohibiting the sale of crude oil from the United States’ strategic petroleum reserve to China. How that will fare in the Senate is an open question.
How Hageman will fare with a Teton County crowd remains to be seen. Crowds at her previous town halls were dominated by Republicans. But in an election where abortion access animated liberal Teton County voters at the polls, Jackson Hole residents voted two to one for Grey Bull, Hageman’s opponent. In the August primary, Teton County voters cast ballots for Cheney by a three-to-one margin.
Statewide, Hageman won the 2022 general election by a 45-point margin.