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House Debate

Republican U.S. House candidate Liz Cheney looks out into the audience Oct. 20 during a debate at Casper College.

Wyoming has two strong major-party candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives. Republican Liz Cheney, a Wilson resident, and Democrat Ryan Greene, from Rock Springs, are both eager to serve the state. Libertarian Lawrence Struempf and the Constitution Party’s Daniel Cummings are also seeking the seat.

But because of its relatively low population, Wyoming has only one House seat.

That means voters here must choose their voice very, very thoughtfully.

They must choose someone who is knowledgeable and informed on issues both foreign and domestic. Wyoming’s representative must be comfortable expounding and voting on a variety of thorny issues, from immigration and health care to foreign relations and the military to public lands and the balance between industry and conservation.

The right candidate will also be strong and savvy. The job, with its many complicated pieces, is simply too big for a political newcomer. Of course, good representation is by no means just about politics — successful politicians often bring their personal and professional perspectives to office for the betterment of all. But navigating Washington and our incredibly complex federal government is a necessary skill. Our representative must be familiar with the rules of engagement in Washington and use them to the state’s advantage. The right person will also have the confidence and influence to represent Wyoming no matter what it takes – whether that’s building coalitions in Congress or standing strong on issues that matter to us here in the Cowboy State.

This leaves only one choice: Cheney should be Wyoming’s next U.S. representative.

With her time in the State Department, she has collected the bureaucratic bona fides necessary to navigate the complex maze of the U.S. government. With her experience and connections, she’ll be capable of being effective as soon as she sets foot in the Capitol. She has worked with many people in the government and is linked to many more.

Still, though, those valuable Washington connections must not come at the expense of Wyomingites. It’s important for any member of Congress to come home and connect with his or her constituents – to find out what they think and use that knowledge to shape their votes and actions in the nation’s capital — but it would be even more vital for Cheney, who has spent much of her adult life out of the state yet would serve as its one voice in the House.

The Republican is also no stranger to pointing out problems: Cheney has loudly criticized the White House over coal, health care and national security, among other issues. But to be the best representative possible for Wyoming, Cheney should focus on coming up with solutions to those problems and moving them through Congress.

She believes the Affordable Care Act, for example, is unfixable and should be repealed. It’s an unlikely prospect, but if that happens, Wyomingites and other Americans will be looking to her for a better solution on health care. She has declared that the Obama administration is waging a war on coal, and Wyoming’s energy industry certainly needs a strong advocate – but many factors play into coal’s struggles, such as evolving markets and price pressure from other fuels. She and her colleagues in Congress will need to work together to identify solutions that will truly defend Wyoming’s signature industry and the people it employs.

Greene is a good candidate – one of the strongest Democrats to run in recent years. His love for Wyoming is clear. He knows the energy industry well, thanks to his role in the family business, and he is able to speak with authority on domestic issues. He is also the right kind of Democrat for the Cowboy State – one who isn’t afraid to oppose members of his own party on issues that matter to the state, such as energy development.

Wyomingites should hope that he’ll continue to build his political and policy resume and seek office again, or at least stay active in state politics. His voice is an important one, and we hope to see it grow stronger.

For this election, though, Cheney is the best choice. Wyoming needs a strong representative in the U.S. House, and she is prepared to fulfill that role right now.

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