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How our legislature, governor and media have let us down

Posted: Friday, Feb 22nd, 2013




By PARKER JACKSON

Aide to Rep. Allen Jaggi, Lyman



Voters across Wyoming have been silenced. Your vote doesn't matter. At least, that's what they want you to think.

Since the 2010 election, those on the left, both Democrats and “Republicans” who have abandoned their professed party at heart, have constantly undermined Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. Their goal: to legislate the undoing of an election, ignoring the voters and the Wyoming Constitution in the process. Unfortunately, they have at least temporarily succeeded.

Even if you didn't vote for Cindy Hill, you should be concerned.

When the legislature stripped Hill of virtually all duties in Senate File 104, they also eliminated the people's voice in education. From now on, your vote is for a purely ceremonial position, a figurehead who will appear at "teacher of the year" ceremonies and prepare one yearly report. If SF104 is not undone, there will be no more interaction with teachers or students. The Wyoming Department of Education will be geared only toward federal compliance, not toward instruction or student achievement.

How could this happen in Wyoming? The political tactics used typically surface in Chicago and Washington, D.C., but rarely here.

As the last few weeks have shown, Wyoming has been infiltrated by an elitist, establishment, "good old boy" network, consisting of people from legislators to lobbyists, reporters to long-time bureaucrats, all of whom have become masters at beating the system.

The “good old boys” control our government, decide the fate of bills before they are brought up, and throw around money to decide who wins elections. They are well funded both in their businesses and campaigns by lobbyists, contractors and lawyers who line their own pockets with tax dollars.

Their leaders include Governor Mead, members of the governor's office, Senate President Tony Ross, House Speaker Tom Lubnau, Senate Majority Leader Phil Nicholas, House Majority Leader Kermit Brown and powerful committee heads like Appropriations co-chairs Sen. Eli Bebout and Rep. Steve Harshman, and Education co-chairs Sen. Hank Coe and Rep. Matt Teeters. This group has become so influential that they essentially dictate how the legislature will vote, based on inferred threats of denying committee assignments or killing bills based on the sponsor. They yearn for more government, more control, more of your tax dollars and, ultimately, more power.

Prior to Hill’s election, the legislature began micromanaging both our schools and the WDE. In response, frustrated voters elected a new superintendent.

In 2010, Cindy Hill ran on a message of improving instruction and combating corruption in our education system. She broke many unspoken rules of establishment politics, soundly beating a Republican incumbent in every county in the primary, then going on to trounce Mike Massie, another Senate good old boy. Both decisive elections frustrated entrenched politicians and longtime WDE employees; they knew she threatened the corrupt policies and ineffective legislation they were responsible for.

After she took office, many highly paid and unproductive contractors, consultants, and state employees, accustomed to cushy deals and lavish vacations, abandoned the WDE of their own accord, moving on only to take positions in the governor's office or other government agencies.

However, Cindy Hill pushed forward, improving education across the state.

When the good old boys could do nothing else to discredit or silence Cindy Hill, they invoked sly legislative tricks and unconstitutional measures to pass SF104 and a resulting budget amendment, ordering physical removal of Hill from the WDE and the stripping of duties, staff and funds.

In short, they have punished her for challenging corruption, cutting government, achieving positive results and simply applying conservative principles.

Consequently, Hill filed a constitutional lawsuit based on her constitutional charge over the "general supervision of the public schools." In another act of "belligerence," she announced that she will run for governor in 2014, in hopes of bringing lasting change not only to a corrupt system, but to solidify the progress that has been made in education. If these two efforts don't pan out, things will go back to business as usual for the good old boys, and all educational growth that originated in the WDE over the last two years will be halted or undone.

When the good old boys could do nothing else to discredit or silence Cindy Hill, they invoked sly legislative tricks and unconstitutional measures to pass SF104 and a resulting budget amendment, ordering physical removal of Hill from the WDE and the stripping of duties, staff and funds.

In short, they have punished her for challenging corruption, cutting government, achieving positive results and simply applying conservative principles.

Consequently, Hill filed a constitutional lawsuit based on her constitutional charge over the "general supervision of the public schools." In another act of "belligerence," she announced that she will run for governor in 2014, in hopes of bringing lasting change not only to a corrupt system, but to solidify the progress that has been made in education. If these two efforts don't pan out, things will go back to business as usual for the good old boys, and all educational growth that originated in the WDE over the last two years will be halted or undone.

The real question is: will you let them get away with it?

We need meaningful reforms across all levels of our government. Yes, we need a new governor; Cindy Hill can solve that problem if the voters choose, but we need more than that. We need statewide turnover in the legislature, replacing good old boys with statesmen who will protect government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Only about 30 true Republicans reside in the legislature right now, less than half of the professed number, and only one-third of the total members. Most of those who voted against SF104 fall into that category. The rest need to know where you stand.

The Declaration of Independence states, "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

We the people know best. Sometimes, we just need to prove it.

Note: The Wyoming Center for Constitutional Law has been set up to aid Superintendent Hill in her Constitutional challenge of SF104. Contributions can be sent to: Wyoming Center For Constitutional Law, P.O. Box 4021, Cheyenne, WY 82003.





For the complete article see the 02-22-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-22-2013 paper.











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