Minutes from Cody Town Hall, April 20, 2017
Park County Library — Cody
Sponsored by Wyoming Rising – Northwest
Cindy Childs, Moderator
Opening The Meeting
9:30 a.m. Childs introduced WR-NW steering committee, read statement of purpose for the Town Hall meeting, and laid out ground rules for time limits and civility.
Approximately 50 Park County residents attended this Town Hall, despite the absence of Senators Enzi and Barrasso, and Representative Cheney. Below is a summary of statements and questions from participants. I tried to record each statement faithfully and truthfully.
(Note: As can be seen by these comments, the participants were informed and concerned about issues that affect Park County and Wyoming. Our Members of Congress have no need to fear the good people of Park County. We hope they will someday agree to come and engage in a civil dialog with us.)
Summary of Statements:
- Powell: disappointed that the three Members of Congress are not present
- Clark: Where are the Republican Representatives? Republicans need to get their act together— the ACA, the Middle East — they have no policy. We need to let the legislators know we aren’t satisfied with their performance. They need to get their act together and really make America great again
- Cody: Concerned about the loss of funding for contraception programs world wide. Why do our Members of Congress support defunding family planning?
- Cody: Trump’s promise to release his tax returns is an important act of transparency. Do Members of Congress have the power to force him to submit his tax returns?
- Cody: Question for Enzi. $35.5 million is being cut from Wyoming’s education budget. The proposal for 2018 is $9 billion in public education cuts nationally, but provides large increases for private school supports. “Senator Enzi, you say you support families. Please oppose cuts to public education and defunding schools.”
- Cody: Request to Members of Congress to serve constituents and not corporate interests. “Please be wary of corporate interests in the Trump administration … what is their agenda …. We may not be getting what we were promised … stop being so partisan.”
- Cody: “I give my taxes and votes to you but all I get is paper representation.” Citizens United – the oligarch have taken control. What do Members of Congress plan to do to abolish Citizens United so we can go back to true democracy. The systems of checks and balances is undermined by Citizens United.
- Cody: Concerned about repealing and replacing the ACA. Birth control, abortion, and title 10, and family planning are targeted by budget cuts and restrictions. “Undermining Title 10 protections is alarming. Please stop legislation that will undermine access to reproductive health care.”
- Powell: Question for Enzi. “We worked well with you to help international students with their visa problems … international students add value to our community … who are we now? … think about the impact of the image of an unwelcoming America.”
- Clark. Disappointed that the three Members of Congress are not present. Concerned about putting profits over the needs and property and rights of people. The Keystone Pipeline is a foreign-built project taking American farms by eminent domain. Why do you allow corporate benefit over public policy?
- Powell. Concerned about the future of education under Secretary DeVos. In particular, special needs children. “How can you do this to us? … not looking out for us.”
- Rural Park County. Concerned about impact of international relations on foreign visitors … big drop in tourism since Trump. There has been a 30% drop in Chinese bookings since Trump. Travel to US is unpleasant with extreme vetting, impacting Park County tourism and the economy. “Please work the TSA to make America a welcoming place because we are a welcoming people.”
- Cody. She has written to Members of Congress often but replies are form letters. Concerned about health care. Family is on ACA. If subsidies for cost sharing end, she is concerned that insurance companies will drop out of the Marketplace. “People have spoken — we don’t want repeal and replace. Please just work to make it better.”
- Cody. “When will our Members of Congress stand with the people to demand transparency in this government and ask Trump to release his taxes?”
- Cody. Concerned about climate change. Question to Barrasso. “Barrasso wants America to pull out of Paris Accords. How could you!” Barrasso is in the pocket of energy companies against the good of the people of Wyoming.”
- Shell. Resents the “no-show” from Members of Congress. “Barrasso consistently votes against the people.” Concerned about climate change, hypocritical “selling out”, tax dollars going toward a wall, wasteful use of tax dollars to house Mrs Trump and travel to Mara Largo.
- Cody. Concerned about loss of government funding for libraries, museum services, and library services. The LSTA grant is in danger. “If funding disappears, it will impoverish Wyoming.”
- Cody. Addressed to Barrasso. Concerned about mental health in Wyoming. “Funding for suicide prevention in Wyoming is being cut … what are we going to be doing for future suicide prevention in Wyoming? … we need those resources.”
- Rural Park County. Concerned about health care. Put together a fix to the ACA. Keep the pre-existing condition clause … stop the partisan attitude.
- Powell. “Members of Congress, you have health care and pensions. We want to feel safe about ours.”
- Cody. We need a progressive tax system. The NSA monitoring of email, phone and mail is an unreasonable search and seizure. “We need to define a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
- Person shared two quotes: “Democracy will last until Members of Congress learn to vote themselves money.” and “All it takes for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
- Powell. Announced the March for Science on April 22. Barrasso, even if you believe climate change is not real, “why can’t we make our environment better?”
- Powell. Concerned about cuts to the arts. Members of Congress need to realize the importance of arts funding to rural Wyoming. Question for Senator Enzi: since you are probably in your final term, “what do you have to lose by not stepping up to investigate Russian influence?”
- Cody. Concerned about the cost of health care.
- Rural Park County. Concerned about national security. Even in Wyoming we are deeply concerned. Members of Congress, “… you can vote on the budget … support funding of the State Department and diplomacy …. And the US Agency for International Development.”
- Rural Park County. Concerned about the cost of health care. Members of Congress, “you keep saying that the ACA has hurt the people of Wyoming, what are you talking about?” ACA has provided needed coverage for families. Don’t repeal the ACA, just make it cheaper.
Closing The Meeting
Cindy Childs thanked the crowd for participating, and the Library for allowing the meeting to be held there. Contact information for Wyoming Rising–Northwest was given. Town Hall meeting ended at 11:00