Wyo loves delegation, hates Congress

2013-07-14T20:00:00Z Wyo loves delegation, hates CongressBy KYLE ROERINK Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Wyoming voters seldom blame their lawmakers for the problems in Washington, said James King, head of the political science department at the University of Wyoming.

Only 10 percent of Americans approve of Congress, according to a recent Gallop Poll. But the nation’s disdain for lawmakers doesn’t follow them back home, King said.

“For a long time we’ve known that people love their members of Congress but hate their Congress as a whole,” he said. “It’s not a new trend. Polling data going back to the 1960s proves it.”

So even though the issues change, the sentiments of constituents do not.

In the past seven months, the nation has dealt with the so-called fiscal cliff, sequestration and the debt ceiling. Congress’ lack of punctuality on dealing with some of the nation’s most pressing issues creates a perception among people that the system is broken, King said.

The contempt for Congress might be high, King said, but re-election rates are 90 percent.

Instead of running on platforms that cater to constituents' needs, many members of Congress who go back home to campaign say they are fighting to fix what’s wrong in Washington even though they’ve been in office at least one term, King said.

Members of the current Wyoming congressional delegation are no strangers to reflecting their constituents' concerns in nation's capital. All three have been re-elected two times.

Sen. Mike Enzi won his third term in the Senate with more than 76 percent of the vote in 2008. Sen. John Barrasso won with 90 percent of the vote, and Rep. Cynthia Lummis won with more than 68 percent of the vote in 2012.

Once people cast a ballot, they’re comfortable with their own decisions, said Robin Van Ausdall, director of the Wyoming Democratic Party.

“People think, ‘It couldn’t be my fault,’” she said.

Even though constituents may support their members of Congress, there’s been an erosion in people’s overall faith in government, she said.

“A lot of money has been spent on the narrative that government doesn’t work,” she said.

The problem with Congress is that the average American doesn’t have a say in the political system, Van Ausdall said. Regardless of party affiliation, campaign finance has the biggest influence on Congress, she said.

“Congress is doing an excellent job of representing people who pay for their campaigns,” she said.

The national mood in Congress is not representative of the Wyoming delegation, said Bill Novotny, a Wyoming GOP Central Committee member.

“We have three members who aren’t in it for personal gain,” he said. “They come home every weekend and hear about the issues.”

Wyomingites know their congressmen and congresswomen and share their values, King said.

“In the case of Representative Lummis, there are 434 others we didn’t vote for in the House,” he said. “We’re comfortable with the ones who share our values but we disagree with many of the others.”

Members of the nation’s two largest political parties differ on which chamber of Congress is doing a better job. Republicans in Wyoming often take aim at the Democrat-controlled Senate.

There’s an inability by the majority of lawmakers in the Senate to pass legislation that will benefit the public, said Tammy Hooper, chairwoman of the Wyoming GOP.

Hooper thinks differently about the Republican-controlled House.

“I think the House is serving people,” she said.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Cody Coyote
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    Cody Coyote - July 15, 2013 2:12 pm
    Utterly disgusted with both , actually...
  2. rigrat
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    rigrat - July 15, 2013 1:39 pm
    On the contrary,everyone in Wyoming does not "love" the state's delegation.
  3. Completely Fed Up
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    Completely Fed Up - July 15, 2013 12:20 pm
    Obummer simply continued the policies of Reagan, Clinton, and the Bushes -- serving wealth to the hilt and sending kids to die for the greater corporate good, then peddling those wars for control and natural resources belonging to others using the slogan, "They're fighting for our freedom." What a con, almost as bad as religion.
  4. Completely Fed Up
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    Completely Fed Up - July 15, 2013 12:18 pm
    What's wrong with socialism? It beats the pants off the pyramid scheme of kaputalism.
  5. pappy
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    pappy - July 15, 2013 12:16 pm
    Everyone should read Charlie Reese, Orlando Sentinel, last column. ( I would encourage the CST to reprint this column) It speaks to this very situation. If we don't like whats going on in Washington we have the ability to change it. We just have to vote them out. None of them will take responsibility for anything that is going on. They just blame others. There are only 545 Representatives and Senators and they pass the laws, and the budgets. No one else. So if you want change elect someone else and quit listening to them blame everyone except themsellves.
  6. Completely Fed Up
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    Completely Fed Up - July 15, 2013 11:51 am
    Not at all a surprising result in what is basically an authoritarian population where people do what they're told, by party hacks when it comes to voting. I hate the joke that is "congress" and include in my hatred the wealth-serving Wyoming Triplets.
  7. brianvmax
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    brianvmax - July 15, 2013 9:01 am
    Its funny how we can't close our own border's but we can spy on law abiding american's, ironic I guess would be the word!
  8. supercelifragilistic
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    supercelifragilistic - July 15, 2013 7:10 am
    You sound like a socialist complaining about (Rs) stopping the fast-track of a once fiscally imploding nation. Yeah, you're correct - there are more, since you've publicly ask.
  9. dd ric
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    dd ric - July 15, 2013 6:56 am
    kyle,you left out the part about those of us that don't like hearing lies from those elected. You leave out the facts that the DC3 have no reason to worry about losing their high-end salaries from lack of performance. You fail to mention Barrasso is an enforcer for the punk Mitch McConnell which he was not elected to do. You completely leave out (R) obstructionism and racism.so if you wanna write about it,get it all. ddric
  10. supercelifragilistic
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    supercelifragilistic - July 15, 2013 6:41 am
    Kyle, figure it out ... this is the divided states of america
    A new America that this "scandal-plagued President" brought in with his new ways of lop-sided governing. We're only seeing the leading edge of the end of a "great nation" that once stood.
    I personally find every Congressional and Senate (from states surrounding Wyoming) an offense, unless they see things Enzi's, Barrassos' and Lummis's way? Therefore, the once - kumbaya moments that 2009 to 2011 forced on this nation that broke this nation is over.

    The wake up call and the realization that socialism really doesn't work in a "free-spirited America" to prosper is now a reality. Government must serve the people, not special interests and self-serving government, as had been the case.
    The wake up call is real and prevalent today, just as many Wyomingites would never support another politician without that leader from elsewhere supporting this state's leaders. Its probably the walk up call the "slacker-media" needs from its fantasy honey moon of its first black-skinned President.

    You see, prejudice is not as prevalent as the media portrays the American public to have. But, policies that force-feed unwanted laws that recreates a prejudice (towards Americans by government) where most Americans feel abandoned as in Obamacare and excessive spending. Americans show contempt outside of their "home-state leaders".
  11. Rock of ages
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    Rock of ages - July 15, 2013 4:48 am
  12. smallcage
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    smallcage - July 15, 2013 4:48 am
    Generally true article, but where is my delegation in taking a stand for my Constitutional rights and against the NSA and Obama's surveillance state ?
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