Thoughts from Dale Steenbergen –
One of my favorite books is called “Horse Tradin” by Ben Green. The book is really a collection of stories that reflect young Ben’s life as a horse trader. One of my favorite stories is about him buying a mare and taking her home only to find out that she was a gypsy horse and refused to be shoed. She refused to be shoed because she was taught not to let it happen. Once the proud new owner was frustrated with the horse, he would sell it back to the gypsy band at a considerable discount. This was not ideal for the owner as he or she lost money, but the gypsy band would profit again and again from reselling the horse to a new sucker that saw a beautiful fat critter in front of them. Ben bought one of these horses, but, rather than selling the horse, he tied her down to break her from fighting her feet. The gypsy band finally paid Ben a handsome profit to have their “trained” horse back rather than having to train a new one.
It seems we are often sold a gypsy horse by our government when it comes to education, housing, transportation and a few other things. We see the new program, the new employee, or hear the speech, and we are convinced we just bought a beautiful steed. When we get home, or in this case as time passes, we start to see that the “beautiful steed” is really a weed tailed nag.
The education system does not deliver, the highway is in disrepair, and the transportation system remains sub-par. Folks, it’s time to tie the old mare down hard to the ground and force some change. If I sit in another meeting and hear “we already tried that” or “it takes more money to do that” I am going to explode. The time has come to force change and don’t take “no” for an answer. We must empower one another, and we must empower those who have the expertise to do it right!
The Chamber has been working on front range rail and housing for some time now, so I will use them as examples of retraining. When I hear, “there is nothing we can do” I just feel like folks don’t understand or appreciate the great country we live in. This is the country that built the transcontinental railroad for goodness sake! I am sure that we can figure out how to get a passenger train between Cheyenne and Denver. We built hundreds of houses in Cheyenne in the 1800s, surely, we can figure out how to build cost effective homes in the 21st century.
We need to believe in what we can achieve and then “do it”! We need to get rid of some vocabulary in our language. Let’s agree that “we can’t,” “we tried and it didn’t work,” “it’s too expensive,” and “it’s not my fault,” be forever stricken from our vernacular. “We can!” and “we will” is what we need to use instead. Certainly transportation, education, housing, and many more issues confront us – but let’s be honest about the fact that we can solve these problems.
The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1907 and is more than 1,000 members strong. Using guiding core competencies, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce demonstrates leadership by advocating for business at all levels of government and promoting our community to make the region a better place to live, work, and do business. The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce is also active in the Wyoming Business & Industry Federation, Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Visit cheyennechamber.org for more information.