I’ve been out talking to folks in House District 22. The main thing I’ve learned: Most Wyoming voters are not extremists. Wyomingites want something more aligned with the middle of the road, as the August statewide primary vote results proved.
Voters want rational, responsible and reasonable people they can trust to represent them in the Legislature because we are busy living our lives. We trust that our roads will be plowed, our water will be clean and our schools will be excellent. We believe that our government will be well managed, allowing our communities to thrive and preserving our proud Wyoming way of life.
Extreme agendas aren’t what the majority of people want, especially in our part of the state. Extreme agendas won’t keep the lights on or our families safe.
Local government funding is a major part of the Wyoming budget. Local government means cities, towns and counties — the government closest to the people. Another important part of the budget in western Wyoming is funding for tourism. Our part of the state needs local government and tourism funding to maintain our healthy, vibrant quality of life and to provide the basic services the public needs.
Yet opposition to the major funding items important to our part of Wyoming happened here with the House District 22 incumbent who supports far-right extremism. State Rep. Marti Halverson has aligned her votes with an extremist agenda against the budget that doesn’t reflect what our rational, responsible and reasonable residents want.
Case in point: tourism, our state’s second major industry and the source of jobs that hardworking families and communities in western Wyoming need. Tourism helped our part of the state reverse trends toward an economic downturn. During the last legislative session Rep. Halverson and several extremist colleagues voted against reinstating the governor’s tourism budget, then against the full budget entirely.
I find this surprising since it is the major economic driver of her district, our district. This funding literally keeps Wyoming’s communities strong through our state’s ability to attract tourists who spend their dollars in Wyoming. Dollars that help generate the local funds needed to plow roads, the same roads that carry our children to school or our friends and loved ones to work. Rep. Halverson was also one of seven to vote against an appropriations bill to fund the building and maintenance of schools.
Fortunately for the residents of District 22, rational minds and common sense prevailed. Halverson and her extremism were defeated. I don’t know if she was advocating for the extremists in the Liberty Group or the Tea Party or both. I do know it was not the residents of House District 22 or the majority of people in Wyoming.
These extreme legislators are the ones saying we need to get control back into the hands of local governments, but their votes say otherwise. These extreme legislators are voting against the budget because of ideology — a scary thought that could push Wyoming into the dysfunction we see in Washington. That’s not our Wyoming way.
In Wyoming we work together to accomplish many tasks, and we expect elected officials to do the same. This election day, the people of Wyoming get to have their say. Our democratic process allows us to hold our elected officials accountable for what they did at the Legislature. Please vote. You are reasonable people; we need you to make your voices heard.
In legislative races across our state this year, voters need to ask themselves: Do we want Wyoming to be as polarized as Washington, D.C.?
For any governing body, especially our Legislature, to be effective we need to elect individuals who are willing to work together and use common sense and who are rational and responsible in how they represent Wyoming people. Send a message to the extremists: Vote for the middle of the road.