The Park County Republican Party is moving on after one of its committeemen sent a vulgar email to a state legislator.
Although no public action was taken after a more than hour-long executive session at the party’s Thursday meeting, the committeeman who sent the email, Troy Bray, said he still holds his position and is not planning on resigning.
“I think I had a successful meeting,” he said in Friday phone interview. “I’ve made my apologies, I have no plans on resigning.”
Park County Republican Party President Martin Kimmet wouldn’t address what was discussed in the executive session but confirmed the party is moving on from the issue. He said due to the discussion entirely taking place in executive session, the party wouldn’t have commented under any scenario that could have taken place on Thursday.
“We’ve been fighting for a month about this,” Kimmet said, adding he has lost sleep over the matter. “People make mistakes.”
In a September press release, the party had said the email would be discussed during an executive session at that meeting. During public discussion, proxy voter Josh Shorb started to make a motion to ask Bray to resign but multiple members cut him off before that motion could be completed. At no point did any member raise a question of general privilege, which is the procedural action that must take place in order to interrupt a speaker who has already been given permission to talk.
“We’ll address it in executive session,” Kimmet said, when Shorb asked if he could finish his sentence.
The body voted with a 35-1 vote to go into executive session. Committeewoman Cherie Fisher said although she cannot divulge what was discussed in executive session, she did say it was not a disciplinary hearing.
Under Wyoming law, all city, county, state and local powers boards must take any action (voting) outside the executive session. Political parties are not beholden to the same standard, a fact the Secretary of State Office confirmed, as state election codes do not provide guidance on party meetings.
The county party’s bylaws make no mention of executive session procedures.
Following the executive session, no public votes took place nor any discussion on the matter.
Bray said he had invited his constituents from the 9-7 precinct, covering part of central Powell, to a meeting he and another committee member hosted to discuss his email, but not a single person showed up.
“Apparently, my constituents are not that upset with what I said,” Bray said.
Shortly after Bray’s email became public, he made a post on his Facebook apologizing to Sen. Tara Nethercutt (R-Cheyenne) for the conclusion to his email which inluded a slur. That message also included, earlier in the email, the statement, “If I were as despicable a person as you, I would kill myself to rid the world of myself.”
“Senator Tara Nethercott, the language I used was inappropriate, and I apologize for the last word of my email,” Bray wrote on his Facebook. “But the cowardice and pettiness being shown by you and your supporters proves every other word of my email. I will not be bullied, nor will I allow bullies to win.”
Bray complained that he had received pressure from the “leftists/ RINO class of scum,” and in an earlier version of the post mentioned a man calling his workplace and demanding he be fired for his email. He deleted that part of the post two days later.
Bray wrote his original email to Nethercutt to express his displeasure for a vote she cast in last year’s legislature against a bill sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne), outlawing vaccine mandates in Wyoming. The bill would only have applied to state-level mandates and would have been ineffective against stopping President Joe Biden’s current mandate.
“It’s been an important issue for quite a while and it wasn’t dealt with last session,” Bray said.
Bouchard offered support for Bray in his Facebook post and called Nethercutt a liar and an “absolute tyrant.”
“Now we have Republican ‘leadership’ playing cancel culture – in lock step with the left,” Bouchard wrote.
Rep. Dan Laursen (R-Powell) said although he agreed with Bray’s sentiment, he disagreed with the language he used. Fisher went further, expressing concern for Bray’s mental health.
“I can never approve violence against a woman,” she said. “We have bigger things we need to deal with right now but the message was lost for Troy the moment he wrote that.”
Bray, who ran for Natrona County commissioner in 2012 and 2014 before moving to Powell, hopes that the political events of the past year have made people realize how important it is to participate and do their research about those who are representing them in the government.
“I had Republican friends that would go into the voting booth and pull a lever for every candidate with an R next to their name, whoever it is,” he said. “Now, so many are saying ‘never again,’ they’re going to look into it more.”
Bray said he sees the push to fight Biden’s vaccine mandate as the most important issue coming up for the party. Many have been demanding a special session be called in the state legislature to address this issue.
Laursen said 50% of legislators must support a special session for it to take place. He said in the last unofficial count, support was around 35%.