In today’s edition of “5 Questions With…” Wyo4News reached out to Wyoming U.S. Senator Candidates John Barrasso (R), Gary Trauner (D) and Joseph Porambo (L ) about subjects of importance to Wyoming voters.
Wyo4News received answers from Barrasso and Trauner, Porambo did not respond.
HOW DO YOU WIEGH WYOMNG’S INTERESTS AGAINST NATIONAL ISSUES?
John Barrasso: In many important ways, Wyoming’s interests are national interests. Providing a pro-growth, pro-American economic climate to create and maintain good paying jobs is priority for Wyoming and for our country. Likewise, I believe the federal bureaucracy has grown too large and too encompassing. I believe in a government of, by, and for the people. That is priority for Wyoming people and our country.
Gary Trauner: Many of Wyoming’s issues are national issues: affordable healthcare; a growing economy that works for everyone, not just an elite few; diversification of our energy sources to stay economically competitive; protecting and providing access to our public lands; reducing the national debt. The job of a Senator is to represent his/her constituents while at the same time finding ways to work with the 98 other Senators from other states to acknowledge their issues and find ways to compromise. It’s a tough balancing act that takes leadership ability and integrity, both of which are in short supply in DC these days.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WYOMING ENERGY INTERESTS VERSUS ENVIRONMENTAL AND HABITAT ISSUES?
Gary Trauner: Whether its protecting sage grouse or habitat on Little Mountain south of Rock Springs, the best way to balance Wyoming’s economic interests vs. protecting our environment for hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation and special wild places is to get all parties together to work things out. It may sound old-fashioned, but there is really no other way, no magic bullet. Communication is key. Again, this takes leadership ability, courage and integrity from our elected officials.
John Barrasso: Too often the federal government issues a one size fits all approach to solve environmental challenges. Time and time again we see this approach fail and our individual rights put at risk. I have worked carefully to balance Wyoming’s energy economy and the thousands of jobs it provides with everyone’s desire for a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. It is our open spaces, our clean air and clean water that makes Wyoming such a special place to live, work, hunt and fish.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS?
John Barrasso: President Trump and the Senate continue to focus our Judiciary System based on the rule of law – starting with the Supreme Court. A year ago President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. In addition to Justice Gorsuch, the Senate set a record by confirming 26 federal appeals court judges nominated by President Trump. In comparison, President Obama had only 4 appeals court nominees confirmed in his first year of office. It was high time to appoint Judges who will uphold the law and the words embodied in the Constitution, not legislate from the bench.
Gary Trauner: Per the U.S. constitution, there are 3 co-equal branches of government: Executive (President), Legislative (Congress) and the Judiciary. The judiciary rules on the legality and constitutionality of laws and actions taken by the other branches. These rulings can have an enormous impact on government policy and how that policy impacts the American people. Many federal judges receive lifetime appointments, so the Constitutional role of the Senate in advising and consenting on judicial nominations from the Executive branch is absolutely critical and one of the most important duties Senators must undertake.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT TERM LIMITS FOR THE CONGRESS?
Gary Trauner: Yes, however, this is not an easy question. Many people say that this is why we have elections – if you don’t like the incumbent, vote them out. Unfortunately, with the influence of big money in elections, there is now a disconnect between voters’ approval of the job Congress is doing and the re-election rate of incumbents. Plus, there is a tension between institutional memory/experience and the need for new thinking and ideas. In the end, the Founding Fathers intended for a citizens’ legislature, and term limits would assure that; no one should ever serve for 30 or 40 years.
John Barrasso: I support and defend every person’s right to vote. Elections are like a job interview. Voters should decide who represents them based on the quality of the job that a candidate has done.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT A CONVENTION OF THE STATES?
John Barrasso: The process for amending the Constitution of the United States is laid out in Article V of the Constitution. State legislatures have the right to call a Convention of the States to begin the process of amending the U.S. Constitution. I believe in limited government. The Constitution makes clear that the federal government is to provide a common defense and to ensure its citizens rights. Not to interfere with your life.
Gary Trauner: Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two methods of adopting amendments. First, Congress may, by a two-thirds majority in both houses, propose amendments to the states. Second, if two-thirds of the states ask Congress to call a constitutional convention, Congress must do so. Every Amendment to date has used the first method. I do not believe a Convention of the States is a wise move, especially in today’s divisive political atmosphere. Instead, voters should hold elected officials accountable for doing their Constitutional duty. A Convention of the States would likely veer off in unintended ways dangerous to our democracy.