Legislatures fired up for election season

'Get involved and make some noise'

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 6/12/24

TORRINGTON – With an election now in clear and plain sight, the area’s state legislators made a point to give some very valuable time and insight with their constituents at 21 and Main …

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Legislatures fired up for election season

'Get involved and make some noise'


TORRINGTON – With an election now in clear and plain sight, the area’s state legislators made a point to give some very valuable time and insight with their constituents at 21 and Main Street in Torrington Thursday evening.

District 03 senator Cheri Steinmetz along with colleagues representative Scott Smith of district 05 and representative Allen Slagle of district 02 took advantage of a beautiful evening with roughly four dozen Goshen County residents to share and hear the voices of their people. 

All three state legislators shared an evening of new ideas, intentions, and concerns. Above all each individual reminded the people of their district their voices and liberties remain, and will continue to be priority number one when it comes to their representation at the capitol in Cheyenne.

According to representative Smith, serving the people of his district is rarely fun and games when it comes to the state legislature. Although naturally and occasionally seeing things from a different point of view with others in Cheyenne; Smith, Slagle, and Steinmetz were convincing they will not be deterred or apprehensive when it comes to fighting for their constituents.

“You don’t really know how bad the legislature is until you get there,” Smith said with a smile. “The way I try to look at it is I do believe it’s a spiritual battle. Not against flesh and blood, but against the darkness of the world. For those of you who pray for us thank you. The greatest part about this is getting to know so many of you. Before I didn’t know a majority of you, and I appreciate all of you who contact me regularly. I am always happy to give you my card, and you may call or text me at any time. I am very excited about this next election season as so many seats are open. The key is getting good leadership and sending good leadership. That’s always been the hardest part about the legislative session for me. I brought different bills regarding election integrity, and none of them have seen the light of day. That’s just a quick opening there.”

Senator Steinmetz was in concurrence with the words of her colleague, once again reiterating the fact although the wishes of her constituents will continue to be represented, getting things passed or even looked at will always be an uphill battle. 

A battle the senator is willing to take on with resolution and poise.

“This ‘24 budget session was unlike anything I have ever seen,” Steinmetz said. “In fact, a new member said she felt like it was a bit of a match that made her ill. There are some who want to spend, spend, spend and there are those who want to harm our liberties and freedoms. It does cause for some friction, and I think things will probably continue this way unless we see elections change across the state. I for one am not backing down, and I want to say thank you to Scott, Allen and you for sending us down there to be part of the team. As you can see we work very well together and are doing an excellent job on behalf of Goshen and western Niobrara. I am very honored to have them as colleagues.”

“I would like to just echo Cheri and thank you for sending us down there,” representative Slagle added. “It is a privilege and I do take this job as your Representative seriously. As I look at it I try to get the word out, and some of you are on my email list. During the budget session, I want to send out emails, to let you know what we are dealing with and what’s happening. It used to be before I got to the legislature I would elect someone to represent me, and I wouldn’t hear from them until the next election. That really isn’t it from my point of view. If there are things I can do please better let me know. Let us all know.”

A particular notion the three officials touched on was the massive property tax increase residents experienced in 2024.

As representative Smith spoke with all in attendance, this was an unacceptable spike for taxpayers of his district. As the representative heartily expounded, these things can be avoided with other reasonable options; especially when it comes to constituents who have been harshly affected financially because of this.

“I think we have all really been affected by the property tax,” Smith stated. “It has gone up astronomically and is primarily the way we assess the property tax. It is by evaluation, and there are a lot of great ideas out there with how to solve the problem. One of the things I would be a fan of as far as property taxes, is we have heard you guys loud and clear. The property tax was a major thing affecting every single Wyoming resident, and there were 20 bills which made their way to the leadership. Only four of them survived. There were a lot of ideas and methodologies, but my preference is to make it universally affect everyone. Some people like to spend your tax dollars, and who like picking winners and losers. One of those which did pass however was a property tax exemption for long-term homeowners.”

Other subjects discussed at the meeting notably were issues about the second amendment. Each legislator spoke with a strong urgency for Wyoming constituents to evade support for gun-free zones while exercising their constitutional right to bear arms, and to defend themselves should the time come.

As senator Steinmetz dug further into the issue, a resilient urge to purchase firearms conservatively, discreetly, and securely was a subject laying heavy on everyone’s mind.

As all three representatives stated, purchasing firearms in this day and age with a card is an incredibly easy way to be tracked or monitored by the federal government.

“This is how they have been tracking firearms and ammunition,” Steinmetz said. “In the state of Wyoming, it is illegal for them to categorize the merchant. That’s how it works in Wyoming. We have to amend our constitution, and we do have a few tricks up our sleeves. It’s a very important issue, and we need to be watching what is in our own backyard.

Once again according to representative Smith, this is something he and the others intend to fight and stand against.

“We successfully took and repealed gun-free zones because it’s an election season, and people didn’t want to be on record voting against gun-free zones,” Smith joked. “Unfortunately the governor vetoed this bill, as well as a lot of the good meaningful bills a majority of the people in Wyoming support. My understanding is with gun rights the second amendment shall not be infringed upon. So, we took this seriously and all voted to make sure we are not going to have any gun-free zones in our state.”

It should be suitably noted additional bills presented by Steinmetz, Smith and Slagle this last year but vetoed by governor Gordon included regulations of abortions, repeal of gun-free zones, education charter school amendments, Wyoming Prime Act, limited mining operation amendments, federal land use plans-legal actions authorized, public employee retirement plan contributions and homeowner tax exemptions.

“The bottom line is we have a spending problem, and it’s something we can all understand,” Steinmetz said. “We need to cap on our spending and that is reasonable taking everything into account, but we need some real reforms. The senate did a good job, but we need some help in the house. What’s happening is we are seeing a lot of money go from the general fund, and there’s a complete formula that would make your head spin. It’s just a funnel, it’s incredibly frustrating and I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for you.”

“We have had a slim majority in the senate and have been able to get things squeaked by, but this election season is critically important,” Steinmetz concluded. “We have been talking all night of how you can be involved. This is our government. It is for us. It is by us. We have to be involved more than ever. We really appreciate your involvement, and we thank you for coming out. We are so fortunate to represent this county, and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Representative Smith would echo the words of his colleague, choosing to end the meeting on a positive note by intensely encouraging residents to remain engaged, stay true to themselves, and their beliefs, and not be deterred.

“It’s saddening to me because at a lot of our meetings, there was no one from the public there,” Smith added. “So, get involved and make some noise. Minds are already made up, and they are told what to do and what to kill. I thank all of you for coming down, but you will have a better appreciation for what we go through if you come, just like tonight. Please write letters, make phone calls and show up.”