State Rep. Mark Kinner stopped by the Press last week to provide some insights from the recently concluded budget session at the Legislature. His conversation, attitude and enthusiasm says much: life in the Legislature suits him. The next day, he announced he was running for office on his own. (He had been appointed to fulfill the term of the late Rep. John Patton.)
• He enjoys the “people part” of being a citizen legislator — the emails from constituents, visiting with lobbyists, connecting with journalists. He’s most proud of House Bill 80. It recalibrates community college funding from the state. Sheridan College enrollment is climbing and merits more financial support; some of the other community colleges in Wyoming are not. The bill provides for an adjustment every four years based on population.
• Another challenge ahead for the state Legislature, he said, is “the when and how” to use Wyoming’s “Rainy Day Fund” to overcome budget shortfalls, particularly in education, now that extractive mineral prices, long Wyoming’s bread-and-butter, have declined.
• What was noteworthy, too, about Kinner’s first session is how he traveled extensively throughout Wyoming, before the Legislature convened and on his own dime, to get to know committee chair persons, other legislators and get a sense and feel of what was coming. That’s uncommon.
Welcome, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen. In concert tonight.
• I see by the paper….
The Pokemon animation franchise is celebrating its 20th year. It has earned more than $40 billion worldwide since its debut, one of the most successful brands ever. In comparison, the “Star Wars” franchise, since it launched in 1977, has earned $42 billion.
• A 93-year-old WWII Army paratrooper has been reunited with his wartime girlfriend. Norwood Thomas and Joyce Morris, 88, hugged for the first time in her home country of Australia. He was 21 and from Virginia Beach, Virginia when he met the then 17-year old Morris in London just before the 1944 Normandy invasion. He went off to fight, she returned to her native country. For a time after the war, they exchanged letters but there was a misunderstanding and she quit writing. Thomas’ wife died in 2001. Morris had been divorced after a 30-year marriage. Last year, Morris asked one of her sons to look for Thomas online and found a story about the D-Day invasion. They connected through a newspaper story.
“That young lady had a smile that would melt you,” Thomas told reporters before departing. The couple met again, some 70 years later, in Adelaide, Australia.
St. Patrick’s Day is near. One joke.
What’s the difference between and Irish wake and an Irish wedding?
One less drinking.