Articles written by Andrew Graham

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  • Future of a democratic stronghold questioned

    Andrew Graham,|Dec 9, 2020

    In Sweetwater County, the November election capped — at least for now — a decades-long shift of one of the state’s few Democratic strongholds from blue to red. The transition marks a milestone for the state’s southwest region, as well as its statehouse, which is ever-more dominated by the Republican Party. The Rock Springs and Green River election results also represent gaps the state’s struggling minority party must overcome if it hopes to achieve relevance anytime soon, Democratic politicos say. Democrats suffered two losses in the House as...

  • Proposed budget cuts pound public services

    Andrew Graham,|Nov 25, 2020

    Gov. Mark Gordon last week sent proposed budget cuts to the Wyoming Legislature that slash public services and weaken the already thin safety net supporting Wyoming’s most vulnerable. In a press release accompanying his budget proposal, Gordon said his government took a “strategic” path to reducing programs instead of recommending indiscriminate percentage cuts. The goal is to manage the state’s fiscal crash with the least impact to citizens, the governor said. But given the scale of the savings budget writers must find, cushioning the public...

  • Statehouse shifts further right with election

    Andrew Graham,|Nov 11, 2020

    Amid record voter turnout in a presidential year, Republicans in the Wyoming Legislature picked up one seat each in the House and Senate. Between last night’s results, August’s primary elections and lawmaker retirements, the 2021 Wyoming Legislature will feature at least 23 new faces. The body on the whole looks to have shifted to the right ideologically once more. When voters hit the polls yesterday, the House tallied 50 Republicans, nine Democrats and one Independent. In 2021, there will be 51 Republicans, seven Democrats, one Ind...

  • Wyoming's 'dark money' coal promotion campaign

    Andrew Graham and Cooper McKim, and Wyoming Public Radio|Oct 7, 2020

    At a Sep. 3 press conference, Gov. Mark Gordon introduced a nonprofit that’s been advocating for Wyoming’s coal industry for years: the Energy Policy Network. He announced a new contract with the group in which taxpayers would “contribute” $250,000 this year. The governor believes there’s still a place for Wyoming’s coal in the electric utility market despite the long and accelerating shift toward renewable sources and natural gas. “We face the challenge that many other states’ public service commissions, unfortunately, don’t see it that way,...

  • As session wanes, legislators negotiate in private

    Andrew Graham,|Mar 11, 2020

    There are 90 members of the Legislature, but the fourth week of its 2020 session ended with fewer than 20 negotiating, often behind closed doors, the outcome of key budget session issues. As members of the House and Senate appropriations committees and other leading lawmakers negotiated, the majority of lawmakers were sidelined. Leaders sought compromises on the more than $7 billion two-year budget, state-funded construction and the potential purchase of 1 million acres of land and 4 million acres of minerals rights from Occidental Petroleum. D...

  • State looks to bet big on fossil fuels

    Andrew Graham,|Feb 19, 2020

    During Gov. Mark Gordon’s state-of-the-state address Monday, lawmakers’ greeted Gordon’s strident pledges to defend Wyoming’s fossil fuel industry with raucous applause and a clear signal that the Republican majority is in lockstep with his position. Gordon used much of his second annual state-of-the-state speech to elevate his stature as a defender of coal, while also calling for a tax break for oil and gas. He touted his administration’s petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to try and open coal ports on the west coast and asked lawmakers...

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