SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County Republican Party held its annual convention Saturday to select its delegates and agree on its platform ahead of the state Republican convention in Laramie next month.
Among the 30 delegates Sheridan will send to the state convention were Rep. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester, Sen. Dave Kinskey, R-Sheridan and county Republican Party chairman Bryan Miller.
The county Republicans’ platform committee brought 17 resolutions to the convention for the consideration of local delegates, and after striking one and making several amendments, the Sheridan Republicans finalized their 16-resolution platform.
The resolution delegates voted to remove would have held that parents are responsible for “caring for” and providing “the necessities of life” to their children until the age of 18. Delegates said they agreed with the spirit of the resolution but felt it was too broad.
In the 16 resolutions that were approved, the county Republicans called for the dissolution of Gov. Matt Mead’s ENDOW commission, several articles in the state constitution that “prohibit appropriation of money not under absolute control of the state.”
Other resolutions opposed the use of electronic ballots in state elections, advocated cutting “unnecessary budget items and programs” in the state budget before passing new taxes and requested Wyoming schools that implement sanctuary programs, which shield students from immigration authorities, be denied state funding.
Cyrus Western, who is running for Rep. Bo Biteman’s House seat, said he believed Wyoming will inevitably have to adjust to changing circumstances and believed he would work to reconcile change with conservative policies.
“We have to be prepared for what the future holds. Change is going to come,” Western said. “I want to help ensure that we adapt to change as well as adhering to the conservative values that I hold dear.”
Bill Dahlin, a candidate for governor, focused on Wyoming’s economy and said he would focus on diversifying the business base in Wyoming, and the state had an opportunity to do so with the recent removal of several regulations. Dahlin suggested one option for diversification is agricultural and industrial hemp, a growing industry he said could bring Wyoming both jobs and revenue.
Dianna Bennett, a deputy county and prosecuting attorney, said she would run for the County and Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Matt Redle, the current county and prosecuting attorney, has announced he will not seek re-election. Bennett said her 18 years of experience working in the office has prepared her to take on the lead role.
“I’m a conservative, but that doesn’t really matter in this office,” Bennett said. “I prosecute everybody.”
Chris Schock, the current mayor of Clearmont who is running for a Sheridan County commissioner seat, offered a concise pitch.
“The people who vote you into the county commissioners seat are from the municipalities all over the county,” Schock said. “We’re all in this together and we have to work together.”
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, visited the convention and thanked the local delegates for their contributions to the Republican Party.
“Thank you for the work you do as the patriots for the party,” Barrasso said. “[You’re] people who get out the vote and many of you have been doing it for many, many years.”
Barrasso turned to the upcoming midterm elections by urging delegates to help re-elect U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, in November.
“She does a great job; she’s effective, driven, determined and she works very well with [U.S. Sen.] Mike [Enzi], R-Wyoming, and me,” Barrasso said.
Barrasso’s Senate seat is also up for election in November. So far, two challengers have declared they are running against Barrasso: Gary Trauner, a Democrat from Wilson, and David Dodson, a self-described “Reagan Republican” from Jackson who is running as an independent. Barrasso said both of his opponents were “liberals.”
“They’re not like us; they don’t think like us. You get to decide,” Barrasso said.
If re-elected, Barrasso vowed to continue advocating for conservative principles.
“I’m going to focus on the things that unite us, which are cutting taxes, repealing regulations, slashing through Obamacare…and confirming conservative justices to the courts,” Barrasso said.
Earlier in his talk, Barrasso, who led the platform committee at the 2016 Republican National Convention, summed up his commitment to conservative ideas.
“The New York Times wanted to ridicule me, so they said it was ‘the most conservative platform in 100 years,’” Barrasso said. “Good.”
The Wyoming Republican Party convention is scheduled for April 19 at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. There, delegates from counties around the state will present their resolutions for consideration into the state party’s platform.