Our View: More access needed


August 16, 2017

With the start of River Festival this weekend, residents are likely to see U.S. Sen. John Barrasso during the annual Cajun Shrimp Boil. The dinner is a favorite event of Barrasso’s and he’s attended yearly.

While his visits are appreciated by local officials as it gives them a chance to discuss what Green River and Sweetwater County need from their representation in Washington, D.C., there are groups of people who want to talk with the senator and his cohorts to have their voices heard. A group in Cheyenne have arranged a public forum in the state’s capital to give residents a chance to talk with Wyoming’s congressional delegation, inviting not only Barrasso, but Sen. Mike Enzi and Representative Liz Cheney, to the June 2 event. Not one of the three showed up, citing an inability to attend.

This isn’t to say the delegation doesn’t make themselves visible in the state, or Sweetwater County for that matter.

Sen. Enzi visited Rock Springs to tour the privately-owned Aspen Mountain Medical Center, but after tour more driven by a desire for photo ops by local media, the senator met with hospital administrators during a private lunch. Rep. Cheney met with Sweetwater County Commissioners during a lunch earlier this year to discuss issues impacting the county. It was an open discussion in the Castle Rock meeting room at the county courthouse, but a lack of advertising and the space available in the Castle Rock room would have made large public engagement impossible.

We’ve said this before, but Wyoming’s congressional delegation needs to show the state’s residents that their input is as valued as input from business owners and elected officials. Wyoming’s residents deserve the right to publicly speak to their congressional delegates. Town hall discussions should take place around the state during this recess.

Wyoming is a safe state for Republicans and it’s also safe to say that Barrasso, Enzi and Cheney’s seats are so secure, they can serve as long as they please. However, that doesn’t mean residents shouldn’t get a chance to comment in person to their elected representatives.

We would like to see the delegation host town hall events throughout the state. Those meetings are important to the representative democracy we live in. Without that ability to stand and make your voice heard to the person you elected to the office, what’s the point of voting for a candidate in the first place?


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