Liz Cheney has plenty of ideas about how to best serve Wyoming if elected to Congress, but her primary campaign focus is reducing government overreach.
“There’s this mistaken idea in Washington that they know best, when in fact the people that actually work the land, are producing energy on our land, are grazing cattle on public lands, they’re the people that are the best stewards,” Cheney said “We’ve got to restore authority to the people who live here.”
At the top of her list is working to roll back some of the most damaging policies, including: repealing Obamacare, repealing the Endangered Species Act, cutting taxes and reducing the size, authority and funding of the EPA.
Cheney would also like to return authority to the state on managing public lands in local communities.
“You’re much more likely—if decisions are getting made at a local level—to have a decision being made by someone who’s actually been out and seen the sugar beet harvest, or who actually has sat down and had the conversation,” Cheney said. “We have to get to a point where we’re saying ‘Let’s restore some of our freedom to run our own lives.’”
Along the campaign trail Cheney said she constantly meets people who are facing hardships because of the economy and federal regulation.
“There’s just a real sense that Wyoming has been hurt more than any place else in the last eight years of the Obama administration,” she said.
Much more could be accomplished if state and local communities had more control and authority over the issues.
“Fundamentally, government that’s closest to us is best and we have to get back to a time when we had more authority in our communities,” she said.
Additionally, Social Security and Medicare have to be protected.
Education is another area where the federal government is too involved. It could be much more effectively managed at a local and state level.
“When you’ve got people sitting 2,000 miles away making decisions, most of those folks have never been to Wyoming, most of those folks don’t have any idea about the reality, and we know government can’t function that way,” Cheney said.
The government is distracted, she said. The military has been gutted, while the Defense Department can hardly fulfill the national security strategy.
She plans to work to restore military funding and get the government back to focusing on top concerns, like defending the nation and border security.
“[With] immigration, the federal government has to secure the border,” Cheney said. “It’s the only entity that can, and it’s failing to do that now, because it’s involved in so many other things and because the president doesn’t see it as a priority.”
Cheney also wants to get the facts out about why fossil fuels are fundamentally important.
“They’re a national treasure,” she said. “Fossil fuels are what created the unbelievable economic growth and development we’ve had in this country.”
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to subsidize renewable energy which has been totally wasted, she said.
“And our fossil fuel industry doesn’t get nearly enough credit for what they’ve done,” Cheney said. “There’s this constant moving of the goalpost that’s not based on facts.”
Radical environmentalists don’t know all the facts, she said. They would have people believe it’s all destruction, when in fact, those who rely on the land, such as ranchers, are far better at taking care of things than bureaucrats sitting in Washington.
“It doesn’t make any sense at all to think that the people who rely on the land and the resources for their livelihood—their way of life, their food, their energy—that they want to destroy it,” Cheney said. “If I am a rancher and I have to graze on public lands I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I can go back and graze next year.”
People really want to know that their representative is going to fight for them in Washington, she said. There is only one representative for Wyoming out of 435 in congress.
“It’s incumbent on that person to be a leader, to be a voice, to be somebody who knows where you can compromise, but equally where you cannot compromise,” Cheney said. “I will work to help build those kind of national alliances we need to begin solving our problems.”
Cheney who for many years lived in Virginia along with her time in Wyoming, said her time and experience in both places is an asset.
“What I bring that’s unique to the race is that combination [of] deep Wyoming roots. I was raised on Wyoming values, a love of this place and our people,” she said. “I’ve had experiences both here and other places, so I know what federal agencies do to try to prevent members of Congress from figuring out where all the money has gone.”
(Cassandra Sturos can be reached at email@example.com.)