SHERIDAN — Fifty-two percent of voters in America are women, which means women are electing offices, and women — especially young, single, working women — need to be reached by the Republican Party to achieve favorable results in upcoming elections, U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis told a crowd of more than 40 who gathered Thursday at a Republican Women of Sheridan County luncheon.
Held at the Powder Horn Golf Club, the luncheon was a time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the National Federation of Republican Women and hear from Wyoming’s sole female representative in Congress. Chartered in 1939, the Republican Women of Sheridan County will celebrate their 75th anniversary next year.
State Sen. Bruce Burns, R-Sheridan, and State Reps. John Patton, R-Sheridan, and Rosie Berger, R-Big Horn, were in attendance, as were city Planning Commissioner Thayer Shafer, County Clerk Eda Schunk Thompson and Dayton Town Councilman Dennis Wagner.
Lummis covered a number of topics of concern in her speech, ranging from conflict in Syria, to the Affordable Health Care Act, to the opportunity Republicans have to gain control of the Senate.
“This is going to be a year and a climate, I believe, where we have the opportunity to win the U.S. Senate,” Lummis said. “We are working very hard to win the majority and stop an administration that believes in big, powerful government.”
Republicans need six seats to win the U.S. Senate, Lummis said, and they need to defend their 14-seat lead in the House of Representatives. One way the Republican Party is seeking to bolster its numbers is through meaningful connections with women.
Lummis said exit polls in the last presidential election showed that people generally trusted Republican policy on debt, foreign relations and the need for small government, but that the GOP fell short when it came to explaining those policies in a relevant manner and when it came to people feeling like Republican representatives cared about them as people. This was especially true with women and minorities, Lummis said, so the Republican Party will be making a concerted effort to train candidates on how to communicate with those valuable constituents.
Republican Women member Jimmy Dee Lees-Harney agreed that was necessary.
“I think we come across as the party of ‘no’ as far as not wanting to help the indigent, or help single women, and all the different causes that are out there,” Lees-Harney said. “We need to become the party that has a plan for each of these. It’s true, we want to not have an entitlement society, but if we concentrate on saying, ‘we want to stop entitlements,’ half the country is going to see that as ‘they want to take away my life as I know it.’ And that’s threatening.”
Lees-Harney said she’d like to see the Republican Party encourage community outreach, not funded by tax dollars, that will help women and minorities through innovative programs such as micro loans, similar to programs being enacted in third-world countries.
Lummis then focused on her beliefs about Obamacare and the Syrian conflict and how best to fight against what she sees as President Barack Obama’s heavy hand in government.
“Sunshine is the best disinfectant against a government that has run amok,” Lummis said, noting that Republicans need to keep people informed about bills and rules that are passing largely undetected.
She said that the rules and regulations passed by the Obama administration last year created a stack 13 feet tall when written on onion thin paper with small print. Lummis also drew attention to the National Blueways System passed in 2012 that could put entire waterways under federal management, rather than state and local management where she feels it belongs.
Regarding Syria, Lummis said she will vote against a U.S. military strike in Syria when it is brought before the House of Representatives next week.
“I don’t think that saving face for the president is reason enough to bomb Syria,” Lummis said in an interview with The Sheridan Press before the luncheon. “Congress is debating tactics rather than strategies, and tactics are for the military to decide; strategies are for policy-makers to decide, and policy-makers have not made the case for what a successful endeavor in Syria will be.”
“Additionally, I’ve heard from many people in Wyoming, and they are adamantly opposed, so I intend to vote no,” Lummis added.
Regarding Obamacare, Lummis said she would like to see it delayed.
“On Oct. 1, Obamacare will begin to take effect for individuals,” Lummis said. “Of course, the businesses will not have to comply for yet another year. To me that is an indication that Obamacare is not ready for primetime, it’s not ready for implementation, and I am opposed to requiring it to be implemented on individuals before it’s ready to be rolled out.”
Lummis also spoke about hitting the debt ceiling in mid-October.
“All of those issues are going to dominate our time for the next five to six weeks, and I anticipate they’ll be among the most difficult and time-consuming legislative weeks that we’ve had,” Lummis said.