TORRINGTON – U.S. Congresswoman-elect Harriet Hageman broke Wyoming election records when she beat incumbent U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in Tuesday’s Primary Midterm Election; but now, the real work begins for Hageman. The Telegram sat down in an exclusive interview weeks before Tuesday’s election with Goshen County’s hometown girl, Hageman, to talk nuts and bolts about what a Hageman Congressional term would look like and mean for Wyomingites.
On Tuesday Wyomingites voted Cheney out and unofficial (meaning not certified at this point) results reported Hageman swept the board with 113,025 ballots cast for her while Cheney took just 49,316, despite her multiple calls to moderates, nonparty conservatives and democrats to crossover voting. Unofficially, until ballots are certified, this ties Cheney for the third widest margin of difference in Wyoming primary history, according to state records.
Hageman will still need to face Democratic candidate Lynnette Grey Bull, who received just 4,503 ballots cast in the Democratic Primary, on Tuesday, November 8 in the Midterm General Election. According to several election analytics and polling organizations, such as Rasmussen Election Reports/Polls, Wyoming remains “decidedly red”, meaning it is unlikely Hageman will lose her bid in November. The number of crossover voters is still being tabulated by each county and the state, but rough estimates from the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office suggest about 12,000 Democrats switched parties to vote; however, some of those votes also went to Hageman. A future Telegram story will soon be available with crossover voting and election day data.
Despite offering a concession speech to Hageman, Cheney did not congratulate her; instead, the soon-to-be former Congresswoman continued to echo her stance against both Hageman and her endorser, former President Donald J. Trump, regarding a multitude of topics, including the January 6 investigations. Cheney vowed to continue her work and that her work was not done, alluding to a possible presidential run. The next day, Cheney said her goal is to prevent Trump from ever returning to the White House as president in an interview with mainstream media. She also acknowledged that she knew she sealed her fate as Wyoming’s Congressional member when she went against the former president and his supporters.
Cheney also likened herself to former President Abraham Lincoln, originally a member of the National Union Party who would later build the Republican Party as President of the United States of America (POTUS). Cheney likened her defeat as the precursor to perhaps a successful presidential run, similar to Lincoln’s political career path. Later in her speech, Cheney also likened herself to former Republican President Ulysses S. Grant. Grant, at the time, was considered to be a “radical” and “progressive” conservative in the GOP and a symbol of Union victory under Lincoln’s presidency, and as president, he ratified the Fifteenth Amendment which gave Black men the right to vote. Both former presidents were progressive leaders in the GOP and advocates of civil rights movements as well as protecting and defending Constitutional rights.
Cheney said in her speech, she is not dissimilar to both former presidents and believes her next office will better help her put an end to “Trumpism.” Former president Ronald Reagan said he was inspired by both Lincoln and Grant when they began the Republican party and American conservatism in a number of post-presidential term speeches.
However, Hageman during her victory speech and in subsequent public engagements thanked Wyomingites for getting her elected. Hageman also said she is ready to get to work addressing the issues and concerns of Wyoming residents and ready to start “fighting for and advocating for Wyoming’s interests.” In her one-on-one interview with the Telegram, Hageman said her top three priorities upon being elected in the November is joining the Congressional National Resources Committee (NRC), focusing on reining in the administrative state and regulatory agencies, reducing radical spending and blocking liberal agendas.
This is how Hageman expects and has planned to start working day one as Wyoming’s future Congresswoman and what constituents could expect in a Hageman Congressional term.
“Throughout history, Wyoming has had our Congressional Representative on the Natural Resource Committee – right now, we do not,” Hageman said. “Liz Cheney is not serving on the Natural Resource Committee – so clearly that is a priority for me and I have reached out to what I believe will be at least some of the leadership back in Washington D.C. after the November elections.”
Hageman added, “that is a priority for me that I would like to be on the National Resource Committee and I’ve been assured that, that is absolutely a possibility.”
She also explained the reasoning for her desire to be on the Congressional NRC is so that as Wyoming’s Congressional woman, she could better protect the interests, needs, wants, demands and desires of Wyomingites as it relates to national resources. Another benefit Hageman noted to having Wyoming return to the NRC is so that she could monitor how regulatory agencies are behaving and giving her an earlier opportunity to preemptively stop what she describes as government and regulatory overreach abuse.
Hageman said many of the regulatory agency's policies can be monitored and possibly stopped or changed by being on the NRC – which could go a lot further in protecting Wyoming’s interest. In light of the ongoing natural resources, oil and gas crisis, among other concerns, some agencies Hageman said she is hoping to keep a keen eye on include the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, she also wants to work at protecting and solidifying the three branches of the federal government, including protecting Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) justices; several of which have come under fire and scrutiny in the light of Roe v. Wade was overturned and sent back to the states as a state issue. In that same regard, Hageman said one of her future, more long-term goals, is to continue to shore up state sovereignty by way of Congressional oversight, legislation and working with other U.S. House Republicans and U.S. Senate Republicans to help fight against “the woke liberal agenda.”
Hageman told the Telegram she plans to monitor and keep a close eye on all federal government regulatory agencies that have business interests in Wyoming if she is elected congresswoman, like that of ongoing concerns with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and it’s sexual orientation/gender identity (SO/GI) policy as dictated by President Joe Biden’s administration – but her top priority is returning Wyoming to a seat at the NRC first. She said this is priority one, because voters across the state continue to ask her why Cheney never got on the committee.
Hageman said although there is a lot she can and cannot do from a U.S. Congressional seat to stop both the USDA and Biden Administration’s SO/GI push, there isn’t much she can do in-state as U.S. Congressional member, but she said she would work with Wyoming’s elected officials in-state to ensure all of Wyoming’s interests are heard and accounted for at the national level in Congress
The soon-to-be Congresswoman-elect said she will do what it takes for a congressional member to fight for Wyoming’s K-12 schools on the federal level in cooperation with state leaders. However, she believes there are many things Congress can do first to better help schools when it comes to K-12 funding, which first begins with block grants, which she “believe(s) that there should be no strings attached to federal money that comes to our states,” for all reasons, but especially for K-12 funding.
“It’s our income tax, whether we pay 20% or 25% or 30% or 35% in income tax – that money goes to the federal government – that money should be coming back to the states in block grants so that our legislature and our elected officials can determine the policy for the state of Wyoming,” Hageman explained. “That's the way that I focused on it – and is that I wouldn't necessarily look at a particular program.”
Hageman also explained that restructuring how states got their federal funding back via grants and tax returns through Congressional authorization and legislative changes, better allows Wyoming legislators, government leaders and even K-12s the ability to more freely and effectively use money as needed and when needed.
A similar approach to which current and recently re-elected Wyoming Treasurer Curt Meier previously told the Telegram when tackling the aforementioned issue with the USDA and Biden Administration’s SO/GI push, and Wyoming’s response to feed its own schoolchildren via state funding. Meier also won his Republican primary on Tuesday, bringing in 97,489 votes, but will be on November’s ballot due to Democratic, unnamed write-in nominations.
According to Hageman, the importance of Wyoming being back on on the NRC has a lot to do with Wyoming’s current oil and gas crisis – much of which she attributed to refineries closing, the lack of pipelines and freight to Wyoming, the lack of federal land leases for oil and gas production and the conversion to biofuels due to EIA and EPA regulations, namely, EPA policies. Hageman said she believes she can best serve Wyoming and Wyomingites needs by starting with returning Wyoming to the Congressional NRC.
Hageman said it was a smart move when Wyo. Governor Mark Gordon, who is also up for reelection and won his Primary on Tuesday, joined West Virginia and 18 other states in another landmark SCOTUS ruling, West Virginia v. EPA earlier this year. Hageman said that was step one of the necessary process for Wyoming to be able to make decisions for Wyoming in regards to its oil and gas industry – which she hopes will bring back a boom to the state that it once held not only for the industry, but also in jobs and economic growth and stability. She said her job at Congress will be working toward helping Wyoming leadership continue that push while she and other Congressional Republicans continue to push back against regulatory agencies, like the EPA.
Gordon received 101,092 primary votes, more than doubling what top challenger Brent Bien received, however, Gordon will face Democrat challenger Theresa A. Livingston, who got 4,989 votes in the Democratic primary, in November.
“The second thing is that my priorities in terms of my legal practice as well as what I want to do as Congresswoman – is we have to focus on reining in the administrative state,” Hageman explained. “There is no question that we have gone off the rails in this country in part because we have ignored the separation of powers.”
“The legislative branch is the only branch that should be legislating,” Hageman added. “But over the last 30 years – which started with a New Deal in the late 1930s – it’s been on steroids.”
The New Deal was a comprehensive series of programs and projects instituted by former Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression aimed at restoring prosperity, jobs and stability to Americans. Although mostly successful to dig America out of the Great Depression and add to America's National Parks and Highway systems, much of its programs that remained long after the Great Depression, even some through the current day, have been criticized for not addressing American needs. Former Republican President Ronald Reagan also criticized the existence of such on-going social programs and new, modern programs in existence today, which he classified as a “drain on society.”
“It’s been the executive branch that has taken over in terms of legislating and how they do that in the administrative agencies,” Hageman said. She explained that the administrative state, also known as the executive branch which is currently the Biden Administration, has a long history of abusing its powers via regulatory, or administrative agencies, such as the EPA, EIA, USDA, etc., with “informal rulemaking and they issue mandates – but none of that is legal, it’s not legal because it is the legislative branch that should be legislating and we have got to get back to regular order – we’ve got to stop allowing Congress to abdicate its responsibility and our congressional members from abdicating their responsibility for actually passing legislation.”
Hageman explained Congress needs to pass legislation that is “unambiguous”, or not open to more than one interpretation, and “enforceable according to its terms.”
“We do not need to have an omnibus (or overly complicated, volume heavy or reinvention of outdated, unnecessary policies) spending bill or, well – any kind of a bill that we have to spend thousands of pages in regulations to implement it – that makes no sense – it isn’t necessary,” Hageman further explained. “Prior to the early 1990s, it was very, very common for legislation to be self effectuating,” (meaning, going into effect immediately, without the need of supplementary legislation).
“Starting with the (Bill) Clinton Administration – is where I believe, things really went off the rails in terms of the administrative agencies taking more and more power than they should legally have – so that is a priority to me,” Hageman explained as it relates to reigning in executive and administrative abuses of power.
“Obviously – other priorities we are addressing are the issues that I’ve heard on the campaign – we have got to stop the radical government spending,” Hageman said. “That is what is leading to the inflationary pressures between our energy and policies – our failed energy policy, our failed food policies and the overspending by our government – we are looking at an abyss of inflation and that, we’ve not going to be able to get under control.”
Hageman said she intends to start day one, “we are going to have to spend the first two years blocking his (Biden’s) agenda – and blocking the radical (Nancy) Pelosi agenda – but after that, we retake the presidency.”
After the first two years, Hageman said it is the hope of all Congressional Republicans to have a Conservative back in the Oval office because the next step will be to “roll back 30 years of really bad policies – we cannot tolerate any more of these omnibus spending bills.”
Hageman said after months of being on the campaign trail, it’s become abundantly clear that Wyoming’s working-class and middle-class is hurting, “he’s (Biden) been there (the White House and President) for 18 months – and everything he’s touched, he’s destroyed – and it has really fallen on, middle class, and on the lower income folks.”
Hageman said Wyoming’s middle-class are “the ones that are suffering and we seem to have a federal government that is fighting against us – we have a federal government that is really destroying our middle-class and it’s terrible to watch.”
Another top priority of Hageman’s is to push back and roll-back policies that have hurt middle-class Wyomingites and Americans, to reestablish some financial “breathing room” to allow those individuals the ability to regain what they lost or are in the process of currently losing.
Ultimately, Hageman said she wants to be the face and heart of Wyomingites and Americans by working with fellow Congressional members to fight against the “woke” and “liberal” agenda of the Democratic party, which she believes is hurting more Americans than ever before. Hageman agrees that Congress should get back in the habit of all roll-call votes so voters at home can hold their Congressional members accountable and she vows not to be like Cheney and back-stab Wyomingites as it relates to conservative values, such as abortion, First and Second Amendment rights, and state sovereignty.
She asks those who did not vote for her, to allow her to demonstrate she is for all Wyomingites by allowing her to put in a good-faith effort at addressing and advocating for Wyoming and Americans.
Hageman is the hometown Congresswoman-elect from Goshen County; she attended Lingle-Ft. Laramie High School and attending college in-state, much of her family still lives across the state, including here in Goshen County. Hageman said it’s because of her own experience in Goshen County, small town and rural America, that she said she was given the tools of success to be the best Congresswoman Wyoming could have.
Hageman also said she understands the value and need for a robust, good education in Wyoming, which is also a priority she intends to address at the federal level in Congress. She said Goshen County School District (GCSD) provided her with a phenomenal education, “I would put my education up against anybody in this county – and what I was able to do at Lingle-Ft. Laramie High School.” She also attended college and earned her law degree from the University of Wyoming and spent some time in Casper and Cheyenne. Her family has an agricultural background and she participated in agricultural programs during her entire education career. Casper College Foundation and Alumni Association list her as its 2010 Distinguished Alumni for the work she has done in Wyoming and for Wyomingites.
Hageman thanks her hometown for their support, love and dedication – but she also thanks all Wyomingites who helped get her elected Tuesday night. Several hometown Goshen County and Wyoming state politicians congratulated Hageman for defeating Cheney, including current U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis.