So far, her replacement has only said he agrees with her stance on horse slaughter.
“This is a budget session,” said the replacement, Rep. Troy Mader, a Republican who represents House District 52, the northern half of Campbell County. “I’m not going to deal with those peripheral issues.”
Mader, a 58-year-old rancher, was sworn into the state House of Representatives on Tuesday morning after being appointed by the Campbell County Commission on Monday. Wallis, a Republican from Recluse who had a libertarian streak, died Jan. 28.
“We have a job to do,” Mader told House members. “Freedom isn’t free. We know that.”
Mader shared some details about his ideology: He said he’s a man who stands for his principles, is fiscally conservative and advocates limited government. He encouraged the public to check out a website of the South Dakota-based Abundant Wildlife Society of North America, of which he is research director. The website criticizes the Endangered Species Act and details wolf and mountain lion attacks on humans. The organization doesn’t lobby, Mader said, but rather makes its views available to the public for free.
“I want to extend my condolences publicly to the Wallis family,” Mader said. “I never got the privilege to meet her but I’m told it was a privilege to know her. I did know her dad and mom quite well.”
Years ago, Wallis’ father, Dick Wallis, was chairman of the Joint Appropriations Committee with Mader’s cousin, Kelly Mader, the new representative told the House after his swearing in.
Mader is a baritone who plays guitar and performs and writes country music as a hobby under the name T.R. Mader. He serenaded the House after his swearing in. He encouraged people to check out his music website http://www.freedomsstruggle.com/ to learn more about his life.
“I do country rock. Freedom’s Struggle (his latest CD) is more country rock and I do some gospel.”
Mader said he will spend this session learning the ropes. He doesn’t intend to introduce any bills, he said. His Tuesday arrival in Cheyenne was after the nonpartisan Legislative Service Office’s training sessions. He has never held elected office, except for being a precinct committeeman, he said.
“My biggest priority is to learn how this works,” he said, about the legislative process. “… Names, I’ve forgotten names. I’ve probably met 30 people. Thank goodness for nametags.”
Mader lives 10 miles north of Gillette and two miles north of the Dry Fork Station, a coal-fired power plant. His wife and son are running the ranch while he is in Cheyenne, he said. They raise cattle, horses, sheep and pigs, he said.
He has eight children, now adults. He is Christian and attends Journey Church in Gillette, he said.