County Republicans meet for town hall

Alicia Louters/Torrington Telegram Residents convened at a Republican town hall meeting Wednesday, May 19.

TORRINGTON – Goshen County Republicans hosted a town hall, in which several individuals discussed the 30x30 program, the runoff election and crossover voting bills and a few other items.

Chairman Kirk Haas opened the meeting. He said the last town hall meeting was in January.

“We had pretty good conversation and had a good turnout as well,” he said. “The plan here was to try and follow up the legislature and let the legislators come back and tell you what got done.”

Frank Eathorne, Chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party, elaborated on the purpose of the meeting.

“I want to use these town halls to make sure the state party leadership is committed to representing the grass roots,” he said. “You are our bosses, and we take that seriously.”

Eathorne spoke about election integrity, saying “we need to return to paper ballots that are auditable.”

He spoke about the runoff election bill, which was later discussed in greater detail. Eathorne said he has had five phone conversations with Former President Donald Trump. An attendee asked Eathorne about the calls.

“Most of you know that he’s planning rallies. He has committed to come to Wyoming.” Eathorne said at least one rally will be in Wyoming, possibly two, prior to the next year’s house of representatives’ election.

“He is very interested in the candidates. He does intend to endorse who he thinks will be the best candidate, and he wants a true conservative. He doesn’t want somebody that may go to Washington and compromise.”

One attendee asked Eathorne to speak about disunity in the Republican Party.

Eathorne said there is a misconception the party is deeply divided. He said this perception is likely due to members who dissent with the majority – sometimes reaching out to reporters with information which is sometimes out of executive session. Most of the party, according to Eathorne, is strongly united over conservative values.

Lori Shafer talked about Executive Order No. 14008, which President Biden signed on the 27th of January. It was titled “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.”

Shafer clarified she is not an expert on the program but wants to bring it to people’s attention.

“Their goal is to acquire 30% of the land and water across our nation in conservation or preservation by the year 2030,” Shafer said. “Their long-term goal is 50% of the land by 2050.”

She provided attendees with a document entitled “Guide to Fight the 30x30 Land Grab,” put together by the American Stewards of Liberty.

Shafer said, “30% by the way equals 681 million acres. That’s a lot of land. We’re not just talking about federal lands; we’re talking about private property as well.”

Shafer said a goal of the American Stewards of Liberty was to have each county in the country come up with a resolution to oppose to 30x30.

“It was unanimously passed in Goshen County to stand in opposition,” Shafer said.

Shafer asked attendees to be informed and be an advocate of opposing the program.

Several attendees commented on 30x30, one saying, “this is shaping up to be the fight of our lifetime.”

National Committeewoman Harriet Hageman agreed with the statement and elaborated on the 30x30 program.

She used an example of Sudan. “Countries have used food as a mechanism to control their people,” Hageman said, “and that’s what the 30x30 program is.”

She said the government gets to decide how they define conservation and preservation. Hageman said, “and it’s not anything that helps our private property owners and our ability to grow food and fiber.”

Hageman talked about the area’s management of water to benefit agriculture. She said because 30x30 includes water, it will affect the management of water in several states, and therefore affect the production of food.

“This is a bad idea, and the Republican Party needs to take a stand on it,” said Hageman.

During the meeting, Goshen County Democratic Party Chair Rob Branham told those present at the town hall meeting he was pleased to know they could agree on some things, especially the prospects of the future generations of America.

State Senator Cheri Steinmetz provided attendees with a document detailing some of the legislation that passed in the 66th Legislature’s most recent session.

She summarized changes to the Supplemental Budget Bill. She said her hopes for the next round of funds from the American Rescue Plan are for it to be put into industries – like the beef industry – that make Wyoming more independent of the federal government.

Steinmetz said she wanted to speak on “some of the things that we didn’t get done that we should have gotten done. We didn’t get a bill passed that we worked pretty hard on – Senate File 100 – and that was to prohibit viewpoint discrimination by big tech companies.”

Steinmetz said if the companies are going to operate as public forums, they should not be allowed to silence people based on their viewpoints.

The crossover bill, which did not pass, would essentially put a time limit on when a person can register to be part of a different party. The runoff bill, which also did not pass, would require a runoff election for the two leading candidates after Wyoming’s primary election, if one did not secure at least 51% of the vote.

She said these are the bigger items on her list for the next session, along with stopping Medicaid expansion and budgeting K-12 education.

State Committeeman Hugh Hageman presented Steinmetz and State House Representative Shelly Duncan with a pledge regarding the crossover vote bill and the runoff election bill. Both signed the pledge.

Duncan said elaborated more on the runoff and crossover bills. She spoke briefly about issues relating to the Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee, of which she is the vice chair.

“We have a lot of minerals in our state that aren’t even being tapped into,” Duncan said. “We could get into manufacturing with some of our rare earth metals.”

She also spoke about the retrofitting of old oil and gas company facilities to be used for manufacturing.

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