Thoughts from Dale Steenbergen-
It is often said that the legislative process is a little like sausage making. If they are talking about how much “pork” is involved, they might be right, but I would argue it is a little more like making a hotdog. Very little meat and a lot of filler. We finished up with redistricting in this state headed toward the 22nd hour on Friday. It was a long slog, and we used every day of the legislature to get it done.
Bad News First! The discussions in the legislature about how the prosperous areas in our state were destroying the “Wyoming Culture” was disheartening. If Wyoming culture demands towns that are shrinking, kids abandoning their communities, and heartache, then count me out. The problem that I pointed out to some of the elected officials is that their attempt to minimize the influence of the larger population areas in the state also minimized the votes of their kids and grandkids as they have migrated to larger population areas for jobs and prosperity. We know statistically that the out-migration from many Wyoming counties is the in-migration of Cheyenne, Cody, Sheridan and other areas. Ultimately, I understand the importance of rural communities. However, offering kids from Chugwater and other areas an opportunity in Cheyenne is a good thing that ultimately keeps our most precious resource, our children, in Wyoming.
How about some good news? Redistricting ended up doing what it is supposed to do. Cheyenne gained legislative influence due to our increased population as a major economic driver for the state. We are home to the newest Senate District 31, and our maps look a little different, including Senate District 6 on the east side of Laramie County cutting its ties with Goshen County and introducing itself to a new relationship with Platte County. Overall, my opinion is that the process ended up offering a decent path forward for the state. Now it’s time to elect business friendly candidates with respectful tones and an understanding of the solemnity of their job in a majority of those 62 House districts and 31 Senate districts.
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