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Tom Lubnau: Out Of State Money Flooding Into… | Cowboy State Daily

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Tom Lubnau: Out Of State Money Flooding Into… | Cowboy State Daily


Election season is upon us. Like manure in a barn, mailers, social media ads and billboards are beginning to bury our view shed in piles and piles of stuff we need to shovel out of the way.

In Idaho, out of state influences spent $1.2 million dollars of dark money to influence Idaho elections.

Much of the dung dropping contains totally untrue statements about candidates. There is no real recourse for the outright lies, half-truths and derogatory statements in this new era of provocative negativity

Well-financed interest groups, from out of state, are trying to influence our elections.

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Why is it so dang important to these out-of-state interests to influence our elections?

Perhaps, they want to influence Wyoming policy. But to what end?

Maybe to affect broader policy discussions? 

Wyoming’s political decisions can have broader implications. For instance, senators from Wyoming can impact federal legislation. Influencing state elections could help shape the national political landscape.

Businesses operating in or dependent on Wyoming’s resources and industries may seek to ensure that local policies favor their economic interests, such as favorable tax rates, subsidies, or environmental regulations.  Perhaps, that is where the benefit lies.

Another consideration might be Wyoming has a significant amount of federally managed public land. Policies and decisions regarding the use of these lands (for conservation, recreation, or resource extraction) can have wide-ranging effects beyond state borders.

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But a deeper analysis of these proposed reasons doesn’t seem to reveal any true economic justification for meddling in Wyoming elections to the degree we are seeing out of state dollars flood the state.

The candidates who are largely supported by these interest groups are not typically pro-business, pro-development folks. One has to wonder what the real reasons people invest significant money to meddle in our elections from out of state.

What big money interests would benefit from Wyoming taking an ultra-conservative, low government, low tax government?

 

One possibility is billionaires who want to treat Wyoming as a tax haven might want to invest in keeping Wyoming’s taxes law, regulations minimized and keep government from intruding on the people.

They certainly like our low-tax environment. They like a weak government that does not stand up to their whims. They like an environment where they can come to the state and not be bothered by the government.

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A few of those billionaire folks have shown up and wanted to change Wyoming to the way they see it should be. (See “Little Jackson Hole” for example.) But, no real evidence exists they are financing the electoral meddling, unless it is occurring on the sly.

Another possibility is someone who is already here, who is using shills to act in their stead to influence politics the way they want them to go.

Wyoming has a disproportionate representation in the United States Senate. If they can change the training ground for Wyoming senators, they can obtain influence over candidate beholden to them? 

One might suspect blowhards with extra money trying to change politics, and Wyoming is an easy target due to low population.

This possibility seems implausible. Cynicism would dictate that no one spends the kind of money that is being dumped into Wyoming from outside the state without some ulterior motive.

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 It’s funny, a disproportionate number of candidates who are endorsed by these out of state groups have only lived in Wyoming a couple years. What does that tell us?

 More questions than answers arise. Typically, this column tries to provide researched answers, but none are readily apparent that justify the volume of dollars dumping into our state.

 And, given our current chief elected official, I suspect answers as to the motives behind out-of-state dollars flooding into Wyoming’s elections are not going to be answered soon by that office.  

For someone who is ostensibly concerned about election integrity, he is noticeably silent on inquiring why out of state dollars are flooding into our elections.

I’m sure we’ll hear arguments that it is their constitutional right to participate financially and anonymously in our elections. And, these organizations have the right to participate in the elections.

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But someone and some level should be asking why this money is flooding into Wyoming to sway our electorate. 

Historically, these tactics work. And they are not going to stop until we make them stop.

We need to do a next-level inquiry on what people stand to gain by influencing our vote.   The answer is not some political platitude.  

And, until we know why out-of-state actors are spending their money to sway our vote, we should vote for every candidate that is NOT endorsed by these out-of-state actors. Send a message their excrement is not welcome in Wyoming.

Tom Lubnau served in the Wyoming Legislature from 2005 – 2015 and is a former Speaker of the House.

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He can be reached at: YourInputAppreciated@gmail.com



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Wyoming

Cowboy State Daily Video News: Thursday, July 25, 2024

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Cowboy State Daily Video News: Thursday, July 25, 2024


It’s time to take a look at what’s happening around Wyoming, for Thursday, July 25th. I’m Wendy Corr, bringing you headlines from the Cowboy State Daily newsroom – brought to you by Wyoming Senior Olympics, reminding you that this year’s Summer Olympics start July 31st in Cheyenne – and volunteers are needed! Become a volunteer today at Wyoming senior Olympics dot org.

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman is catching heat from the Wyoming Democratic Party for saying Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris was hired by President Joe Biden to be his VP, not because of her qualifications, but because her race and gender fulfilled the president’s diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, goals. 

Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports that the Wyoming Democratic Party took offense to these comments, calling them “racist.” 

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“This stems from a comment that President Joe Biden made back in 2019 when he said he was looking to find a person of color and a woman to fill his VP role, which obviously Harris fulfills both those requirements. But the Democratic Party of Wyoming finds this was a racist comment on Hageman’s part, and they want her to apologize for making it.”

Hageman said, quote, “If you don’t want people to say she was hired only because she’s a black woman, then maybe Biden shouldn’t have said he was only gonna hire a black woman.” Endquote.

Read the full story HERE.

On Tuesday, the Black Diamond Pool in Yellowstone National Park violently erupted. The force of the eruption sent rocks hundreds of feet into the air and destroyed the boardwalk that dozens of people had been standing on when it blew. 

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Cowboy State Daily’s Andrew Rossi spoke to Mike Poland, scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, about the science behind the event, which Poland categorized as a “small” hydrothermal explosion. 

“A hydrothermal explosion happens when water converts to steam, because it expands so much, up to 1000 times, just creates a lot of energy, and that’s what happened beneath Black Diamond Pool on Tuesday… Poland told me that these kind of hydrothermal explosions happen, maybe not all the time, but there are at least a couple of them every year… I guess the scary thing is, they can happen anywhere at anytime in Yellowstone.”

The Biscuit Basin boardwalk remains closed to visitors while geologists and National Park Service teams assess the damage and current behavior of Black Diamond Pool. 

Read the full story HERE.

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Residents in a small Montana town were saddened and angered when they learned a headless grizzly carcass that was left in the Yellowstone River was a popular bear well known to townspeople. 

The 15-year-old male was Grizzly 769, a bear dubbed the Blacktail Lakes Bear. And outdoors reporter Mark Heinz says this was the same bear that had made trouble in Gardiner, Montana, and had to be put down by wildlife agents.

“They shot it when it was in the river, because they figured that was the safest option, rather than trying to shoot it in the middle of a bunch of houses and stuff. And it died and the carcass sort of floated down the river… and it finally got hung up and stopped in a place where they just couldn’t get it from shore… So what they did is they cut off the head and the paws of the grizzly because grizzly claws can bring a lot of money on the black market.”

Despite what some see as a terrible waste, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks sees as nature taking care of business, as the carcass of the bear is already being scavenged by bald eagles and other predators.

Read the full story HERE.

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The collapse in coal production continues out of the state’s energy-rich Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming. 

Second quarter data released Wednesday by the Wyoming State Geological Survey shows coal production has slipped nearly 30% from the second quarter of 2023 – and that’s on top of the 21% drop in the first quarter, according to energy reporter Pat Maio.

“The reasons are because, you know, there’s a lot of stockpiles out there still of coal, and the winter was very light, and natural gas prices are low. And, you know, there’s not been a rebound in the market, which is bad for the Powder River Basin.” 

But Travis Deti, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Industry, said he’s cautiously optimistic of signs of a rebound coming in the second half of the year, and into 2025.

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Read the full story HERE.

Former President Donald Trump has scheduled a campaign stop in Wyoming early next month.

Trump is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for his campaign in Jackson on Aug. 10. It will be his second visit to the Cowboy State in the last two years, according to politics reporter Leo Wolfson.

“He came here in 2022 for a campaign fundraiser for Congresswoman Harriet Hagaman. The event that’s going to be taking place on August 10 is big money all the way, which is no surprise that they selected Jackson, which is one of the wealthiest towns and counties in America for the event. It will cost 5000 to get into the event just to get in itself.” 

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A photo with Trump at the event will run $35,000 or a pledge to raise $70,000. Co-hosting, which includes a table, photo with Trump and an entry to the lunch reception, comes with a $150,000 price tag.

Read the full story HERE.

And two men involved in saving an 11-year-old boy who’d fallen into the whitewater rapids of the Popo Agie River in May say they are convinced the rescue was a miracle from start to finish.

Lonnie Porter and Ronnie Disbrow were recognized during Cheyenne Frontier Days as Hometown Heroes, in front of a crowd of at least 10,000 spectators, earning them a standing ovation. The men told Cowboy State Daily’s Renee Jean that a series of fortunate coincidences that day saved the boy from certain death.

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“This kid lost a croc. So he reached down into the water to pick it up, and the water just was going so fast, it just grabbed him and swept him in… There’s about 10 things that if any one of them had been different, that kid would have gone into the Sinks Canyon and we would have never seen him again.” 

It only takes 10 minutes of hypothermic conditions to put most people out of commission, and the child had already been in the water for 35 minutes by the time the rescuers arrived. Porter and Disbrow credit divine intervention for the happy ending to this story.

Read the full story HERE. 

A massive ground search is underway for a visiting University of Wyoming professor who has been missing for more than two weeks.

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Nash Quinn, a 39-year-old fine arts professor, avid cyclist and disc golf player, has not been seen or heard from since July 8 – although the sheriff’s department didn’t get involved in the search until this past Sunday, according to Cowboy State Daily’s Jen Kocher. 

“There were dozens and dozens of volunteers out today. And the it’s a lot of territory was covered. So far, no sighting of him. I just checked in with the Albany County sheriff who is since joining the search as of Sunday. And they’ve got all kinds of assets out there. They’ve got a search and rescue crew and they also have ATVs and all different stuff.”

Quinn is described as a white man with a thin build, with dark blonde hair and blue eyes and a mustache, and wears glasses. His Ridley bike is white with a brown leather seat and 29-inch wheels.

Read the full story HERE.

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The Wyoming Game and Fish Department have come up with a seemingly sci-fi way to combat brook trout that have been taking over the Game Creek area, part of the upper Snake River drainage, from native cutthroats. 

Cowboy State Daily’s Mark Heinz reports that biologists have genetically-altered male brook trout, which then can mate with wild brook trout, but the offspring produced can only be male. That means years of interbreeding with these Trojan fish should produce an all-male population, unable to reproduce. 

“They’re called Trojan male fish, brook trout. Basically, they have two Y chromosomes instead of the usual x and y of a male. I’m not sure how all the science works, but … the idea is you’re eventually going to get to the point where the entire brook trout population is nothing but males. Of course, what happens is, they die out. And so that’s a way to effectively eradicate the brook trout from this drainage, where they’ve been competing with native Yellowstone cuts.”

If things go well in Game Creek, Game and Fish might consider using this method for population control in other fisheries.

Read the full story HERE.

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A Douglas woman has agreed to spend at least the next 10 years in prison for causing her 81-year-old mother’s death.

54-year-old Edwina “GiGi” Leman pleaded guilty to one count of elder abuse and no contest to one count of voluntary manslaughter this month for breaking her mother’s femur, which led to health complications that ended up killing her. Cowboy State Daily’s Clair McFarland explains the plea deal.

“Pleading guilty to abusing a vulnerable adult, she had to essentially confess in court to give a factual basis for what she had done. Whereas pleading no contest to the actual killing, to the fatality of it, All she had to do was agree that the state has enough evidence to convict her. So she’s admitted to abusing her mother. And she’s simply not disagreeing that she killed her mother.”

Leman accepted a plea agreement that allow her to serve no fewer than 10 years, while prosecutors can ask for up to 20 years, the legal maximum for manslaughter. The terms will be decided at sentencing. 

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Read the full story HERE.

During Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Cheyenne Train Depot is the scene of a long-standing tradition that’s about as Americana as it gets.

Three times during each celebration, a free pancake feed is held that – in total over the years – has served 4.5 million pancakes to over 1.4 million guests. Cowboy State Daily’s Renee Jean reports that it’s an incredible sight.

“There’s just a river of people flowing into the depot from every possible direction… The original purpose of this, though, was not just a grand gesture of Western hospitality for Cheyenne Frontier Days, it was actually an emergency management training exercise to practice feeding as many people as possible in as short a time as possible. And these guys could feed 10,000 people in two hours.” 

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It takes 5,000 pounds of batter to pull the event off each year, along with 425 gallons of syrup. About 30,000 people in all will be served this year.

Read the full story HERE.

Radio Stations

The following radio stations are airing Cowboy State Daily Radio on weekday mornings, afternoons and evenings. 

KYDT 103.1 FM – Sundance

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KBFS 1450 AM — Sundance

KYCN 1340 AM / 92.7 FM — Wheatland

KZEW 101.7 FM — Wheatland

KANT 104.1 FM — Guernsey

KZQL 105.5 FM — Casper

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KMXW 92.5 FM — Casper

KJAX 93.5 FM — Jackson

KROE 930 AM / 103.9 FM — Sheridan

KWYO 1410 AM / 106.9 FM  — Sheridan

KYOY 92.3 FM Hillsdale-Cheyenne / 106.9 FM Cheyenne

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KRAE 1480 AM — Cheyenne 

KDLY 97.5 FM — Lander

KOVE 1330 AM — Lander

KZMQ 100.3/102.3 FM — Cody, Powell, Medicine Wheel, Greybull, Basin, Meeteetse

KKLX 96.1 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Ten Sleep, Greybull

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KCGL 104.1 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin, Lovell, Clark, Red Lodge, MT

KTAG 97.9 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin

KCWB 92.1 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin

KVGL 105.7 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Basin, Ten Sleep

KODI 1400 AM / 96.7 FM — Cody, Powell, Lovell, Basin, Clark, Red Lodge

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KWOR 1340 AM / 104.7 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Ten Sleep

KREO 93.5 FM — Sweetwater and Sublette Counties

KERM 98.3 FM — Goshen County

Check with individual radio stations for airtime of the newscasts.



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Groups launch Hunt-Fish-Vote Wyoming website

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Groups launch Hunt-Fish-Vote Wyoming website


(Statewide, WY) — Today, seven hunting and fishing conservation groups launched the website Hunt-Fish-Vote Wyoming, an educational voter resource for Wyoming’s hunters and anglers. Supporting groups include the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, American Bear Foundation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Muley Fanatic Foundation, and Wyoming Trout Unlimited.   “Wyoming sportspeople are impacted […]



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Colorado-Wyoming Climate engine offers research grants – BizWest

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Colorado-Wyoming Climate engine offers research grants – BizWest


 July 24, 2024

The Colorado-Wyoming Climate Resilience Engine has launched its Use-Inspired and Translation Grant opportunities to accelerate the research, development, and commercialization of innovations into tangible products, services, or solutions that address climate resiliency, according to a news release.

“We are thrilled to launch this combined grant program, which represents a huge milestone for the CO-WY Engine and an incredible opportunity for our region,” said Mike Freeman, CO-WY Engine CEO  in the release. “By supporting both early-stage research and the translation of these innovations into practical solutions, we aim to build a robust ecosystem that drives sustainable growth and addresses the urgent challenges faced by our communities. This initiative is a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication of our partners across Colorado and Wyoming.”

The program seeks to accelerate the commercialization of innovations addressing climate resiliency. Proposals should demonstrate a solid product-market fit, collaboration with industry partners, and a roadmap for securing additional funding, the release stated.

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The 22nd Annual A Vintage Affair event, presented by Wilbur’s Total Beverage, benefits Pathways’ mission of providing expert medical and comfort care for individuals navigating the last months of life.

Priority areas for this cycle include Complex Earth Sensing, Soil Carbon Capture Data & Analytics, Methane Emissions Analysis, Extreme Weather Modeling, Wildfire Risk & Prediction, and Water Availability Prediction, the release stated.

The Engine anticipates two award cycles this year. The first applications are due Sept. 3, and a second cycle will open Jan. 15, 2025.

Selected projects will receive from $250,000 to $750,000 for the Translation Grant Program and up to $300,000 for the Use-Inspired R&D Grant Program, the releases stated. Each program cycle will have a project period of one year, with the possibility of a formal no-cost extension for up to six months, subject to approval, the release stated.

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To provide more information about the RFP and answer questions, the CO-WY Engine will host three virtual events, Aug, 1, Aug. 7, and Aug. 8. For more information about the CO-WY Engine and its programs, visit www.co-wyengine.org.



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