Fremont County Democratic Party Statement on the August 19, 2014 Primary Election

vote-democratLANDER, WY–Yesterday Republican and Democratic voters from across Fremont County and the state of Wyoming selected the candidates that they want to see on the ballot in November. The Fremont County Democratic Party was pleased to see two local Democratic contests, House District 33 and Senate District 25. Our congratulations go out to all of the contestants for their efforts and their willingness to pursue public service.

The Fremont County Democratic Party looks forward to supporting the campaigns of Andi Clifford for House District 33 and Sergio Maldonado in Senate District 25. Both are active and involved members in our community who have a vision of a Fremont County and Wyoming that frankly discusses issues and is inclusive of all of our citizens.

Learning of her win last night Andi Clifford had this comment: “I would like to thank everyone who supported me. I will need even more support going into the General Election. Good luck to all the candidates on both sides of the aisle. I appreciate your willingness to serve and represent the people. A big thank you to my Uncle Representative Patrick Goggles for his wisdom and guidance, I will try my best to carry on your legacy!” Andi is the assistant general manager at the Wind River Casino, Fremont County’s largest employer.

Sergio Maldonado expressed his gratitude to the voters when learning of his victory, saying, “A hearty thank you to all who voted for me to be your Democratic candidate for Senate District 25. We have great work in front of us prior to the November General Election. It will take many of us pulling together to assure that the people of Senate District 25 will have a voice in Cheyenne. I cannot stress enough the importance of every person, their concerns and hopes. I take this responsibility in both a humble and people oriented manner.” Sergio is a long time educator and is the Diversity Coordinator at Central Wyoming College.

Fremont County Democratic Party Chair, Bruce Palmer had this comment on the local elections, “We are pleased to be putting forward very strong candidates for HD 33 and SD 25. Both Andy and Sergio are articulate, accomplished and energetic candidates. They are certainly worthy of the consideration of every voter in their districts.”

Palmer continued, “It is interesting to note that more Republicans voted against the incumbent in Senate District 25 than voted for him with nearly 55% of voters choosing Sen. Case’s opponents. Interestingly, in Fremont County the same is true in the Republican Gubernatorial primary. Governor Mead’s 55% statewide win in his own party is far from a vote of confidence. The Fremont County result for Governor Mead must be particularly disconcerting for his supporters with Haynes and Hill outpolling the governor by about 150 votes. The governor certainly benefited by running against two very flawed candidates.”

The Fremont County Democratic Party looks forward to working to support all of our candidates over the coming months. We look forward to positive results in November.

Wyoming GOP “Pallin’ Around” With Hateful Has-been

The Nuge-- sacrilegious headdress, confederate flag shirt and AR-poster boy for the Wyoming GOP!

The Nuge– sacrilegious headdress, confederate flag shirt and AR–poster boy for the Wyoming GOP!

FCDP Chair and WDP Vice-Chair Bruce Palmer wrote this essay.

Two weekends ago many of the Wyoming Republican Party’s “leaders”, including Mike Enzi, John Barrasso, Cindy Hill and Clark Stith, had the outrageously poor judgment to show up at the Bighorn Basin Tea Party event featuring Ted Nugent. Ted Nugent, an aging rocker of questionable musical talent has tried to stretch his career by making money as a vile, foul-mouthed culture warrior. His name-calling isn’t limited to bad taste, it is racist having referred to the President of the United States as a “subhuman mongrel” and “chimpanzee” and more recently after a Native American-owned casino canceled his show referring to his detractors as “unclean vermin”. Andi Clifford, a candidate for House District 33 and a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe calls it what it is in a statement on her Facebook page saying, “I denounce Ted Nugent’s bigoted and vile name calling. Most of us moved beyond his type of behavior when we were in elementary school.” This isn’t free speech it is childish, hurtful ranting and in most places this kind of behavior would earn you a trip to the woodshed for a spanking, but not in today’s Wyoming Republican Party where it gets you a visit from both of the party’s U.S. senators, the superintendent of public instruction and gubernatorial candidate, and a candidate for secretary of state.

It is unconscionable that in Wyoming, the home of one of the nation’s largest Indian reservations with 12,000 enrolled members that top Republican officials would think that their presence at this Fox-fueled hate-fest would be okay. The Northern Arapahoe and Eastern Shoshone people of the Wind River Indian Reservation have a right to expect that their top elected officials would at least have the commonsense to steer clear of an event featuring a controversial character like Ted Nugent. Enrolled Northern Arapaho and Senate District 25 candidate, Sergio Maldonado stated it well in the Casper Star-Tribune saying, “Any individual with a modicum of integrity and self-worth will distance themselves from him.”

If Nugent’s race-baiting were not enough to keep top Republicans away it would seem that their staffs would have done enough research to know that Nugent isn’t a real “family values” kinda guy either. Over the years Nugent has been well-known for a proclivity toward girls well under the age of consent. His 1981 song, “Jailbait” describing an inappropriate relationship with a thirteen year old should disturb anyone who is concerned about sexual predators. Nugent is one sick pup and to have Cindy Hill, the leader of the state’s schools gushing on YouTube over him is an insult to decent people everywhere.

Recently the Wyoming Democratic Party hosted Dolores Huerta, a woman of class and conviction, to speak at our convention about her efforts to organize farm workers in the 1970s. She has continued her career as a standard-bearer for many of our nation’s under-represented. The juxtaposition of Dolores Huerta, a humble, yet assertive woman fighting for human dignity and Ted Nugent, a vulgar loudmouth fighting for the right to have guns with 100 round magazines says much about the state of Wyoming’s two political parties.

Mike Enzi, John Barrasso, Cindy Hill and the Wyoming Republican Party owe the people of Wyoming an apology. They need to say that hatred is wrong, that human dignity is the least every resident of Wyoming should expect and that they will no longer “pal around” with has-been (or never-were), rocker hate-mongers.

The Wyoming people deserve so much more from our elected leaders.

Help Promote the 2014 FCDP Convention!

The Fremont County Democratic Party Convention is just around the corner! Join us on Saturday, March 15 at 10 AM at the Lander Library. We’ll be electing delegates to the Wyoming Democratic Party state convention and debating and adopting a county platform.

Wyoming Democratic Party Chair, Pete Gosar will be the keynote speaker. We’ll also hear from Representative Patrick Goggles and U.S. Senate candidate, Charlie Hardy.

Help promote the FCDP Convention. Download the FCDP Convention Flyer!

convention flyer

Medicaid Expansion Op-ed Article

This op-ed article by FCDP Chair Bruce Palmer will be appearing in the October 30, 2013 Lander Journal:

On June 28 of 2012, the United States Supreme Court, a court stuffed with very, very conservative jurists sent Wyoming and 25 other states packing. The Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was, in fact, the law of the land. It was a decision that delighted Democrats in Wyoming and across the nation who saw an opportunity to provide health insurance for all of our citizens while it caused outrage on the right where any victory seized by the President is demonized.

After the blush wore off, though, we discovered that the decision left open a door for Wyoming’s Republican obstructionists to continue their grandstanding while wasting money and denying a needed hand-up to those less fortunate. Sadly, the Court left it to the state’s discretion to fully participate in the Medicaid expansion providing the opportunity for Governor Matt Mead and our legislators to continue dithering and blustering against the Federal government.

It would be easy for Republicans to make the right decision for Wyoming concerning the ACA. The Wyoming Department of Health thoroughly investigated the costs and benefits of the expansion and said that it would save the state 47.4 million dollars over six years. Organizations across the state support the expansion including AARP, the Wyoming Medical Society, the Wyoming Association of Churches and the Wyoming Hospital Association. These are not fly by night organizations and you can bet they have done the math. Yet in this past legislative session, in a bad economy, our Republican legislators opted to waste taxpayer’s money in order to make a statement by choosing to not endorse the Medicaid expansion. And of course it isn’t just our tax dollars that they decided to flush down the toilet.

When people don’t have health insurance they still require health care, but they tend not to take preventative measures. When they become ill or injured, they go to hospital emergency rooms, where ultimately many of their charges must be written off. The Wyoming Hospital Association indicates that these uncompensated expenses add up to 200 million dollars a year. Who do you think pays this bad debt? You, me and every other person who buys health care or health insurance.

More importantly, good policy isn’t just about governmental spending policy. Our Republican legislature has decided to leave 17,600 of our Wyoming neighbors without health insurance. The optional expansion would cover people with incomes up to 138% of the poverty level. For a family of four this amounts to an income of $31,809. These are our state’s working poor—folks that our Republican majority try to shaft at every opportunity, whether it is changing the rules to take their earned vacation or pooling their tips to limit their income.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but it seems that our Republican politicians are dead set against doing the right thing for our citizens and our state. If the Federal government is involved it is bad, say our legislators. They don’t respond to my letters, says Governor Mead. The politics of divisiveness and childishness are alive and well in Wyoming.

Recently, Newt Gingrich said that Republicans have “zero ideas” on health care. Wyoming’s Republicans have less than no idea. Our Republican leaders have been wrong every step of the way, wasting money on a failed lawsuit, and time when we could have controlled our own destiny with a Wyoming Health Exchange run by Wyoming for Wyoming’s people.

Sadly, it is the people of Wyoming who are losing out due to this belligerence.

Next week provides a great opportunity to press our legislators to expand Medicaid. On Monday and Tuesday, November 4 and 5, the Legislatures’ Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Interim Committee will be meeting at the Best Western Inn at Lander and Medicaid expansion is on the agenda. Before the meeting, write or call Lander’s Representative Lloyd Larsen, a member of interim committee and tell him that expanding Medicaid coverage is good for our economy and good for our citizens. Then attend the Tuesday, November 5 meeting and make a public comment. Fremont County Democrats will be there along with others from around the state. For more information and a complete agenda visit: TurnFremontBlue.com.

Make your voice heard!

Info on the November 5 meeting. Come and participate!

Care for the developmentally disabled shows our humanity

The following opinion piece by Bruce Palmer, Chair of the Fremont County Democratic Party, ran in today’s Casper Star-Tribune:

In Wyoming we pride ourselves on our sound judgment, abundant resources and concern for our neighbor. It is time to live these values by investing our state’s wealth and making improvements to the services offered the severely developmentally disabled. Admirably, last session the Legislature asked the Department of Health to eliminate waitlists for services, but unfortunately they are doing this on the backs of those already in the system by scaling back services and embarking on a “study” of the Wyoming Life Resource Center.

As a resident of Lander I am aware of the importance of this facility to Lander, the state of Wyoming, and most particularly to the clients who reside there and their families who have the piece of mind that comes with knowing that their loved one is well-cared for.

The Wyoming Life Resource Center offers excellent service to many of our state’s most vulnerable citizens—the severely developmentally disabled and those with acquired brain injuries. The service provided these Wyoming citizens cannot be replicated in community-based programs—from the work programs that give the clients a sense of belonging and self-worth to the aquatic and therapeutic riding programs that brings joy to a person for whom every day is a challenge.

In the 1990s the vast majority of the residents of the Wyoming Life Resource Center (known then as the Wyoming State Training School) were removed from the facility and placed in community-based programs. These citizens have added greatly to our communities. Just this past winter the town of Lander had a funeral celebrating the life of John Cooper, a former client of the WLRC and a much-loved part of our community. John walked Lander’s Main Street and waved to every car that came through town. He was our goodwill ambassador. Not only was he our welcoming committee, he was also a master of farewells attending nearly every funeral performed in town. It was great being able to count him as a part of the life of our community. We are all richer for it.

John belonged in an adequately funded community-based program. He was able to get around town on his own and with help from his guardian and the available community services was able to navigate life. He was happy and loved and a testament to the benefits of being appropriately placed in the right situation.

Not every developmentally disabled person is the same. Like all of us they have different abilities and different needs. While John was able to lead a good life in the community, the clients of the Wyoming Life Resource Center have needs that are greater than what can be addressed in community-based programming. The people who are like John are already in community programs—some thriving as John did and some struggling. Our state needs both appropriately funded community-based options and the Wyoming Life Resource Center.

Over the past year I have been able to meet many of the 400 plus staff that make the WLRC a true gem in the community of Lander. I met people who were directly involved with client care and rehabilitation, maintenance staff and, to me, a surprise, staff who focus completely on maintaining and customizing wheelchairs and other durable medical products for the clients and others around the state. To a person I found these staff to be passionate about the work that they do for the Wyoming Life Resource Center and dedicated to the client experience.

Both the Wyoming Life Resource Center and our community-based programming show our compassion and caring for all of our citizens.

And our state has the resources to pay for them. Yes, we must be prudent, but we needn’t be stingy.

Bruce Palmer lives in Lander and is the Chair of the Fremont County Democratic Party.

Wyomingites do care about neighbors

Fremont County Democrat Marjane Ambler published this letter to the editor in yesterday’s Casper Star-Tribune.

Thanks, Marjane for telling it like it is!

October 05, 2013 12:00 am
Editor:

As we all know, Wyoming people pride ourselves on taking care of one another. If someone’s car breaks down on a remote road, we can count on someone stopping. I have been the beneficiary of that Wyoming generosity, and I have stopped to help stranded drivers and bicyclists.

If someone suffers from a medical emergency, we all turn out to support them at benefit events.

Benefit dances can never raise enough money to save us from bankruptcy, however — unless either insurance or government steps in to help.

I fear that people across the country see us as selfish because of the votes of our congressional representatives to limit health care for the poor and to limit food stamps. Will Liz Cheney drive our more moderate senator, Mike Enzi, even further to the right?

I hope that we will all remember their actions when it comes time to vote in 2014 and demonstrate that Wyomingmites do care about our neighbors and want them to have enough food to eat and access to health care.

MARJANE AMBLER, Atlantic City

Walking For Workers Saturday in Lander

 

Walking for Workers. Repeal the Vacation Theft Act.

Walking for Workers. Repeal the Vacation Theft Act.

On Saturday, September 21 in Lander we will be “Walking for Workers,” knocking on the doors of registered Democrats, giving them information about the Fremont County Democratic Party and asking that they sign a petition in support of the repeal of Enrolled Act 37– the Vacation Theft Act. Message points and all the materials needed will be provided. We’ll meet at The Palmers, 291 Cascade Street (corner of 3rd and Cascade) in Lander and canvass from 10 am until 2 pm and then regroup for chili and stories.

On Saturday, September 28 we will follow this up by “Walking for Workers” in Riverton.
Please volunteer to support this important effort to protect workers rights in Wyoming.

Learn more about Enrolled Act 37:
Enrolled Act 37– Wyoming Republicans Gift to Working People
Wyoming Democrats and Labor Day
Equality State Policy Center Spring Newsletter
Wyoming GOP’s Enrolled Act 37 – WDP Timeline

Joe McCarthy and two other U.S. Senators will face charges in a mock trial in Lander on June 26, 2013

Senator Joe McCarthy. Guilty as charged?

Senator Joe McCarthy. Guilty as charged?

Three former members of the United States senate will go “on trial” in Lander, Wyoming for their alleged roles in the 1954 suicide of Lander citizen, U.S. Senator Lester Hunt. Senators Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin), Styles Bridges (R-New Hampshire) and Herman Welker (R-Idaho), all deceased, are “charged” with blackmailing the Wyoming senator. Hunt died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on June 19, 1954.

The trial opens at 7 PM on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at the Lander Middle School Commons.

The trial coincides with the release of the first book-length biography of Senator Hunt. Dying for the Sins of Joe McCarthy-The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt, was written by Rodger McDaniel and published by WordsWorth Publishing Co. of Cody.

Retired Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Michael Golden will preside. Riverton attorney, John Vincent will prosecute. Among the other players will be Landerites Bill Sniffin and Bruce Palmer, as well as County10.com’s Ernie Over. A jury of local citizens will hear the case and render a historic verdict.

Lester Hunt, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1948. He was twice elected governor and twice elected Secretary of State and served in the Wyoming legislature. Hunt came to Wyoming in 1911 to pitch for Lander’s professional baseball team. Following service in World War I, he married Emily Nathelle Higby of Lander, completed dental school and practiced dentistry in Lander.

As Secretary of State, Hunt designed the bucking horse license plate. As Governor he oversaw the Heart Mountain Interment Camp and dozens of programs assisting World War II efforts including the Selective Service. Hunt served in the United States Senate from 1948 until his death in 1954.

Former Senator Alan Simpson wrote the foreword for McDaniel’s book, saying, “When Lester Hunt arrived in Washington in 1949, he witnessed the rising tide of McCarthyism. His was one of the few early voices to call it for what it was.” Speaking of the events leading to Senator Hunt’s suicide Simpson wrote, “What was done to Lester Hunt passed all boundaries of decency and exposed an evil side of politics most would always seek to avoid.”

Simpson added, “Rodger brings to this book the fine skills he learned in all of the paths of his own journey. Beyond the rare ability to research, investigate and write a gripping story, Rodger also brings a level of empathy to Lester Hunt’s life story that he richly deserves. The result is this book that finally offers Lester Hunt’s remaining family some form of justice – though belated.”

The trial is sponsored by the Fremont County Democratic Party and the event is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing by Rodger McDaniel will follow the trial.

See author, Rodger McDaniel being interviewed about Lester Hunt on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” here.

A Quick Update from the May Meeting

Seventeen Democrats from across Fremont County came together on Sunday, May 19 at the Hudson Town Hall for food, education and planning. The two-hour meeting included updates from the various committees–executive, promotion, programs, tribal liaison and college relations. Since the launch of the committees last month some have met and have some efforts in the works and few are still struggling to get off the ground. All in attendance were impressed with the amount that we have gotten done in a relatively short amount of time.

Much of our conversation focused on our upcoming event, The Trial of Joe McCarthy. This will be done on Wednesday, June 26.

In 1954, U.S. Senator Lester Hunt of Lander took his own life after being threatened with blackmail by Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy. The Trial is a readers theater presentation based on Rodger McDaniel’s book, Dying for Joe McCarthy’s Sins, The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt. Rodger will be signing books after the trial. Mark your calendars.

Wyoming Outdoor Council staffer, Richard Garrett, updated the Democrats on Wyoming public lands issues.

Wyoming Outdoor Council staffer, Richard Garrett, updated the Democrats on Wyoming public lands issues.

The summer will see Fremont County Democrats out and about. Parades in Lander and Riverton are on the docket as well as events ins some of our smaller Fremont County communities.

Richard Garrett of the Wyoming Outdoor Council spoke to the group about Wyoming public land issues. In a far-ranging conversation the Democrats learned about concerns regarding upcoming development on the Moneta Divide, wind power issues, required baseline testing for drilling operations and House Bill 228 which mandates a study about state takeover of current Federal lands.

Full minutes of the meeting will be posted as soon as they are available.

The next meeting of the Fremont County Democratic Party will be on Sunday, June 23. Riverton attorney, John Vincent will speak with us about workplace safety issues. Read more about John and workplace safety here.

Worker’s Issues are Wyoming Issues

FCDP Chair, Bruce Palmer’s op-ed response to Sunday’s Casper Star Tribune editorial.

All I can think is that the Casper Star-Tribune editorial board must not have read Joan Barron’s article in their paper about the Wyoming Democratic Party’s state central committee meeting last weekend before writing their Sunday editorial. If they had (or if they were there, as I was) they would know that while the minimum wage was discussed, the initiative that the party agreed to tackle was the repeal of House Bill 79. H.B. 79 says that as long as there is a signed agreement on the day that you start your job, your employer is not responsible for paying you for vacation that you earned, but haven’t used, when you leave that job. Strangely entitled the “Collection of Unpaid Wages” Act, it does exactly the opposite as it takes a benefit that employees have earned and puts it in the pocket of their employer. Not a single Democrat in the Wyoming House and Senate voted for H.B. 79, while nearly every Republican did so.

And therein lies one of the many differences between the two parties that the editors of the Casper Star-Tribune choose not to see. Democrats can be counted on to look out for the rights of those who work. The Republicans, not so much.

The editorial board is absolutely right when they talk about the staggering dominance of the Republican Party here in Wyoming—79 out of 90 legislators, all five of the statewide elected officials and all three of our representatives in Washington are Republicans. And we can see what voting for Republicans is getting our working families here in our communities of Wyoming. Year after year Wyoming ranks dead last in gender wage equality, while consistently coming in near the top in workplace fatalities. Republicans are very effective at getting elected. Doing the work of the people is proving to be more of a challenge for them.

Wyoming, last in the nation in gender wage equality.

Wyoming, last in the nation in gender wage equality.

We did discuss the minimum wage during our committee meeting as well as other issues of importance to the workingwomen and men of Wyoming. The minimum wage was discussed in the context of gender wage inequality and the fact that the minimum wage for those in tipped positions has not been increased in decades.

We discussed the minimum wage in the context that Republicans in the last legislative session were pushing “tip pooling” legislation that would have allowed employers to force employees to pool their tips reducing some employees income potential while reducing the burden on employers responsibility to pay an appropriate wage.

We discussed minimum wage in the context of the Federal minimum wage being just $7.25 per hour. Data indicates that if the federal minimum simply kept pace with inflation it would now be $10.56 per hour. Some have argued that if it were tied to productivity gains it would be significantly higher still. Importantly, and unknown by most, many of Wyoming’s workers are in positions not covered by the Federal minimum wage and so these worker’s Wyoming-legislated minimum wage is $5.15 per hour, the lowest in the nation. The Casper Star- Tribune editorial board indicates that they don’t believe that the minimum wage is a Wyoming issue. Really?

Wyoming’s Democratic Party thinks that workers issues are Wyoming issues—workplace safety, minimum wage, gender wage equality, preventing coercive work environments where employers can take what a person has earned, whether it is tips or accrued vacation—Democrats stand up for and vote for those who do the work.

Bruce Palmer is the Chair of the Fremont County Democratic Party. News and views of the FCDP can be found online at: TurnFremontBlue.com