A vulgar email sent to Sen. Tara Nethercott (R-Cheyenne) from a Park County Republican committeeman has been condemned and its author chastised by numerous members of the party.

In many ways the reaction from people wasn’t just about the letter itself, but the current passionate, divisive political culture in America.

In his email sent on Sept. 12, Powell resident Troy Bray, angry about a vote Nethercott had made in March, resorted to a hateful attack to get his point across.

“If I were as despicable a person as you, I would kill myself to rid the world of myself,” Bray wrote. “You sicken me. Thank you for ensuring that the people of Wyoming are subjected to tyranny once again. F--- you c----.”

Although the email was sent from a personal address, Bray included his committeeman title in his signature. The email was forwarded to the Cody Enterprise.

Nethercott did not respond to requests for comment.

In a Tuesday Facebook post, Bray said he apologized to Nethercott for the language he used in the email. Although he has resigned from his position as secretary of the Park County Republican Men's Club after asked to, Bray said he will not resign his Republican Party committeeman position. 

"I have also received a bit of pressure from the leftists/RINO class of scum," Bray said. "Senator Tara Nethercott, the language I used was inappropriate, and I apologize for the last word of my e-mail. But the cowardice and pettiness being shown by you and your supporters proves every other word of my e-mail. I will not be bullied, nor will I allow bullies to win."

In his Facebook post, Bray says on three different times his apology is only limited to the words he "concluded" his message by. Therefore, Bray made it clear he is not apologizing for telling the senator to kill herself. 

Rep. Dan Laursen (R-Powell) and two other Wyoming State Legislatures "liked" Bray's Facebook post.

The bill Bray referred to, Senate File 94, was an anti-vaccine legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Tim French (R-Powell) that died in the Judiciary Committee, with Nethercott voting against it. This legislation would have had no effect on President Joe Biden’s current vaccine mandates and would have only applied to state-level orders.

​​“We as state legislators can only change state laws, not federal laws,” Nethercott wrote in her response to Bray, never making mention of the vulgarities he used. “As much as we state legislators would like to tell the federal government what to do, we are limited in our capacity to do this.”

Sen. R.J. Kost (R-Powell) also voted against the bill but, unlike the lawmaker from 414 miles away, received no message from Bray, despite being his elected senator.

“It was demeaning,” Kost said of Bray’s letter. “To say that you ought to think about your life. That’s just bad.”

He said he wasn’t against the bill as a whole but didn’t find the verbiage ready for passing at the time of the vote.

Blowback

On Wednesday morning Wyoming Senate President Dan Dockstader and Speaker Eric Barlow issued a statement condemning Bray's letter and urged the Wyoming and Park Republican Party to demand his resignation as committeeman. The lawmakers said they would work with the party to make sure there are statutory measures to remove an elected official for egregious behavior in the future.

"Such a unified response will be a clear signal to all that Mr. Bray's bullying and intimidation have no place in Wyoming," the letter said. 

In a Wednesday afternoon press release written by president Martin Kimmet, the Park County Republican Party spoke out against Bray's language and the opinions expressed in his email, saying his words are not reflective of the party. In that release, it was also acknowledged there are no statutes on the books for removing an elected person.

"We welcome efforts by the Wyoming Legislature to provide a statutory and constitutional process to remove an elected person from their position," Kimmet said in the release. "We believe in constructive dialog with our elected persons. However, we believe such dialogue should be respectful."

No where in the release did it say Bray was asked to step down, but it was said the matter will be discussed during an executive session of the party's next meeting on Oct. 7. 

When it comes to removing elected people, there has been similar chatter at party meetings about attempting to remove U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

Bob Berry, treasurer of the Park County Republican Men’s Club, said that Bray resigned from his position as secretary of the group, but only did so when asked to. Martin Kimmet, president of the Park County Republican Party, said he had conversations with Bray and Nethercott about the matter. 

The Republican Men’s Club sent an apology letter to Nethercott as well.

“Words cannot make this right, but I would like to tell you that this was a random act of “violence” that does not reflect the same moral code as this club,” Berry wrote to Nethercott.

Berry said he received communication from Nethercott accepting their apology, who he quoted as saying the situation was “a done deal.”

Kimmet said he had seen Bray’s apology letter and would not comment as to whether he was content with the message. He said Bray’s original comments were disappointing but didn’t disagree with the overall sentiment for sending the message.

“It’s acceptable to be in disgust but not acceptable to say it in the way he said it,” he said.

Kimmet said when talking to Nethercott about the incident and informing her the letter was not from the party, she complimented Bray’s knowledge on the issue. In her response sent to Bray, she mentioned how she opposes Biden’s mandate herself.

“She was extremely gracious,” Kimmet said.

French said Bray was “totally out of line,” in his comments but said the bill would have made a statement for Wyoming if passed, even if it wouldn’t have changed the current status quo.

“It was an attempt to show we don’t want coerced vaccinations,” French said.

Sign of the times

Both Kost and Rep. Sandy Newsome (R-Cody) said they have received their fair share of hate mail over the last two years, with Newsome saying she has been receiving offensive messages on a weekly basis.

“People need to learn to listen,” Newsome said. “People come in with their own ideas cemented in grain.”

Newsome said she has been called a “dumb b----” by some, while Kost said he also received some offensive words. In one interaction, the third-year senator told the sender they were being inappropriate, to which they allegedly responded that he needed to “cowboy up” or “find a state where you can.”

“What happened to customary respect for each other?” Kost asked.

Newsome said she was "kind of" offended by some constituents referring to themselves as her “boss” in conversations. She said the well-saturated social media and news landscape made it easier than ever to find an opinion that aligns with your own, and less chance than ever for pre-held views to be challenged.

“Just the tone and attitude of, ‘I’m right and you’re wrong,’” she said.

Newsome said those who don’t like the actions being taken should channel their energy towards garnering signatures for ballot initiatives.

On Sunday, Wyoming Rising hosted a group of panelists including former U.S. Sen Al Simpson and former Gov. Mike Sullivan to discuss the value and the future of our two-party political system. The forum divulged into a venting about current affairs, but Kost did express hope after attending the former U.S. Senator Mike Enzi’s funeral, mentioning the lawmakers’ philosophy of focusing on the 80% people agree on, rather than the 20% they don’t.

Kimmet said he isn’t surprised by the level of emotional rhetoric on display and sees it as a trickle down of fatigue from a controversial election, the mask and vaccine mandates that have all taken place over the last 18 months.

“Don’t tell me to wear a mask and get a vaccine,” he said. “Emotions are very, very high.”

French said he has experienced a message of strong urgency from his constituents, but no personal attacks. Kimmet commended people for getting more involved in and paying attention to politics. He doesn’t see there being an irreparable split between the moderate and far-right wings of the Republican Party at this time.

“The silent majority is becoming more reactive,” he said.

Newsome said a return to civility and respect would resolve the current level of hostility. French said the only resolution he sees would come from people moving past the COVID-19 virus, embracing his and his constituents’ viewpoints.

“People are frustrated,” French said. “COVID has just messed everything up.”

(12) comments

Mika Toole

Is Park Co. becoming Wyoming's version of the Idaho panhandle? We get Oho double talkers, Missouri carnival carnies, long tall big talkin' Texans, etc., who end up here, slap a cheap walmart cowboy hot on and instantly think they're the cat's meow around here. Their hd24 candidate was laughable, their school board candidate was a joke. I would like to know, how did the old guard, established GOP'ers around let these types creep in here and take over?

TeeCee Greene

An open letter to all who've ruined our local GOP: you migrated here, uninvited. Rented some shack and flopped on some cheap cowboy hat cuz' you think it'll make you blend in with the locals, though you don't even know which end of a cow gets up first. In a desire to be a someone, a somebody, a big fish in a small pond, you noticed that a kook faction group of carpetbaggers has taken over the local GOP so you go to one of 'dem meetings and sign up. Now you're cooking ...you run for local offices and get walloped at the polls. You dominate the local social media chit chat sites and spew your nonsense, alienating open minded thinkers. You end up being a Mod at these same sites and either block or ban others with whom you disagree with. You, and your little posse end up looking like, acting like and in your mind are the reborn German brown shirts of the 1930's. Meanwhile, the rest of us know who you are, laugh at what you are and just wish you'd go back to where you came from

k.d. millhouse

Mr. Bray is an actual representation of this current Park County excuse for the GOP. Funny thing, though, it looks like the "leaders" of this mob are too quickly throwing this gentleman under the bus, while at same time passionately believing the verbiage of the email. The republican party of Park County has been successfully invaded and now under owner by this angry gang of self-importers....many who don't even own property (renters) nor pay taxes here. They huff and puff and to their credit, have blown the house down. Someday they'll fade away but the stench left behind will linger here for years.

Siobahn Miller

Actually, Mr. Bray's "letter" represents the tone of todays Park Co. GOP. This is an angry mob group of carpetbaggers who've hijacked our local Republican Party and I would imagine any other member of this "gang" would of written the same type of email. Let's see, you have a big talking Ohioan, at Texas transplant, a man from Missouri as well as a cast of characters from both the East and Left coasts that have ascended themselves to Cody with inspirations of being a big fish in a small pond. Mission unaccomplished as we can all see right through you. Meanwhile, we all will just sit back, pop up some popcorn and watch this clownage implode. I'ts only a matter of time...

(Edited by staff.)

Pete Demoney

44 years ago I registered to vote as a Republican. I changed to an Independent 5 years ago. What happened to the Republican Party? The party of family values. The party of personal responsibility. The party of moral values. It's been hijacked by kooks and political terrorists. This is the perfect example of why I can't vote Republican again until these clowns are kicked to the curb. This man most certainly does not represent Republican values, Wyoming values, or my values. For those who make excuses or justify this behavior, you are just as guilty. Disgusting.

Tom Conners

My thoughts exactly. The failed party of Lincoln is a blathering joke anymore.

Scott Weber

The vast majority of Wyoming voters have extreme angst and rancor against those elected officials who run as a Republican, yet when they get to Cheyenne to work on bills they somehow overnight become hyper Democrats/RINOS/Leftists. It boggles the mind.

Here in Park County we have had two of these types - one a HD24 rep and another a Powell senator who have campaigned as conservatives, yet their voting record over 1000 bills clearly shows they are Leftists. Even when questioned in front of the Park County Republican Party meetings they have said they were NOT for certain bills (Hate Crime, more taxes, etc.), yet when they went to Cheyenne they voted for them!

This causes disrespect and astonishment from their constituents. No wonder they receive "weekly" emails they don't like. People are merely reminding them they are violating the planks of the Republican Party. If you have an "R" after your name you must ride for the brand. You must vote as the majority of your constituents demand. Of course.

But we have seen time and time again these RINOS going to Cheyenne and not only ignoring good Conservative Republicans (some in their own county!), but joining in with radical Leftists (some reps, senators - others just plain radicals of some tiny minority) and pushing bills that have nothing to do with the majority of their constituents. This causes angst. This causes rancor. Hence, the bad emails. Of course.

Disrespect is the result of this betrayal. A rep or senator with an "R" behind their name demands a certain type of vote - no new taxes, no Medicaid expansion, no creating "special classes" of persons for special rights, a promotion of oil/gas/mining, no business restrictions, promotion of agricultural business, small government, etc. The list goes on. Yet these RINOS vote AGAINST Republican principles constantly. Herein lies the problem.

If you doubt this, you need to examine previous Enterprise/Red Star Tribune stories and the Park County Republican Party minutes and compare what these RINOS said and then compare their voting record. You will be amazed at the lies.

There will be changes in 2022. Fraud is a horrible thing.

Dewey Vanderhoff

Scott- does " riding for the Republican brand " require one to wear a longsleeved brown shirt , armband, and jackboots ? Just wondering.

Today's hardcore GOP has morphed into something fugly we no longer recognize.

Tom Conners

True story indeed.

Kathy Cottier

Now why do you show a picture of her rather than Troy Bray? First impression is that she sent a vulgar message to someone.

Joe Whittaker

"(Mr. French) doesn’t see there being an irreparable split between the moderate and far-right wings of the Republican Party at this time." -- sorry Mr. French, but I feel that you are quite wrong on this one.

Tom Conners

I like it when the failing GOP has infighting...popcorn anyone?

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