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Government

Trauner talks ag, resource issues

Written by Jennifer Womack
Casper – Drawing on a quote from Albert Einstein, Gary Trauner says insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That’s what he believes has happened with the United States Congress, a body the public is largely unhappy with, yet fails to change when it comes time to vote.
    “I think we need some leadership who will do the right thing regardless of political pressure or politics,” says Trauner. Then why not run as an Independent? “Because Independents don’t win,” he says. As far as choosing to be a Democrat, Trauner says when it comes to issues like healthcare and energy independence he finds the Democratic Party more in line with his beliefs and goals for the nation.
    “I actually think it’s a plus,” says Trauner when asked about the fact that he’s never served in the Wyoming legislature, a trait the state’s voters have historically looked for in their delegation. “I haven’t risen up through the system,” he says. “We don’t need more politicians, what we need is more public servants with real world experience.”
    Trauner narrowly lost to U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Cubin in the 2006 race.
    Taking a moment to address issues of specific concern to the landowner community, Trauner says species recovery under the Endangered Species Act needs to be coupled with financial incentives for landowners who aid in recovery. “Second, we need to be very specific and clear and know what recovery means before we actually list a species,” he says.
    When it comes to the elimination of the estate tax, also called the death tax, Trauner says it isn’t that he supports the tax. He says he can’t support anything that might result in an increase to the national debt by reducing revenue. He doesn’t believe the tax often forces families out of business, but says he’d support repeal of the tax if revenues were made up elsewhere. “I will not put more debt voluntarily on future generations,” he says. “We can increase the exemption level to ensure small family farms, ranches and businesses don’t have to be sold to comply with the tax. That was never the intent of the act.” Noting it was intended to prevent hereditary aristocracy, Trauner says income inequality is at an all-time high in the United States.
    With a “national debt clock” clicking away on his website, Trauner says the debt must be addressed by a combination of savings and increased revenues. “I don’t want anyone to pay one penny more in taxes that we need to in order to pay our way,” he says, but notes the country has been breaking the rule of not living beyond its means.
    On the subject of water Trauner says he is supportive of a pending bill sponsored by U.S. Senator John Barrasso that would designate portions of Wyoming’s Snake River as Wild and Scenic. Key to that support, however, is protection of existing water rights and uses along the watershed. Trauner also supports the Clean Water Act and its application to navigable waterways, but says he doesn’t support its expansion to “every rain puddle.”
    Solving the nation’s energy challenges, says Trauner, needs to occur through a partnership between the federal government and private industry that pursues energy technology. “It will include conservation and efficiency,” says Trauner of the potential solution that he equates to the Apollo moon project.
    Immigration reform, says Trauner, needs to begin with an enforcement of existing laws. Instead of arresting illegal immigrants, Trauner says the CEOs of the companies who hire people illegally should be held accountable. “If you dry up demand, you dry up supply,” he says. Once that hurdle is cleared, he says it’s time for a discussion on what level of immigration will be allowed.
    “I am a small businessman and most folks in ag are small business people,” says Trauner of why the agricultural community should support him in his bid for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. Congress. “I understand the amount of work it takes to be successful in your small business and I support most of the issues ag thinks are important.” On the issues where there is disagreement Trauner says the ag community can expect straight talk on where he stands and why.
     Gary Trauner’s campaign can be found online at www.traunerforcongress.com. Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..