Lummis congressional campaign launchedWritten by Jennifer Womack
Before making her official announcement at the Parkway Plaza and later that same day at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Museum in Cheyenne, Lummis stopped by the Roundup to discuss her campaign, agriculture and issues she believes to be important to the future of America.
“I’ve spent almost 30 years in politics already,” said Lummis. “To me, having had the chance to work in all three branches of state government as well as with the Western Governors Association and to a lesser extent the National Governors Association, I saw what great innovators states are.”
Lummis describes herself as a believer in states’ rights. Congress, she said, should address issues like energy, national security and healthcare, while leaving many issues for the states to address. “Allow the states to innovate on the issues in which Congress has no business at this point,” said Lummis.
Water rights, noting the pending Wild and Scenic Designation on the Snake River as an example, are one area where Lummis said states rights should prevail. “Wyoming water rights and water law needs to be honored above all else,” she commented.
While one might think Lummis has had her feet kicked up at the family ranch since finishing her last term as State Treasurer, nothing could be further from the truth. “I managed Wyoming’s Permanent Mineral Trust Fund when I was state treasurer,” she explained. “Around the world, lots of countries are creating permanent mineral trust funds with their excess revenues.” In addition to writing a chapter on permanent mineral trust funds (PMTF) for a book published by the World Bank, she’s been advising foreign nations on the formation of their own accounts.
Formation of a PMTF is a move she’d like to see the U.S. make and is one of her goals if elected. “The U.S. is the largest debtor nation in the world. We have no savings. Americans are out of the habit of saving and in the habit of maxing out their credit cards,” said Lummis. “There’s just not a culture of saving in America anymore. One of my goals would be to reverse that, to use federal mineral royalty dollars to create a permanent mineral trust fund at the national level and use the proceeds to fund the programs at the Department of Interior that allow Americans to enjoy their own country.” Lummis lists national parks and monuments, national forests and the nation’s fish and wildlife as areas where the funds might be applied. “We’re taking a deplete-able resource and using the income from it to create renewable resource benefits for Americans,” said Lummis of the overarching goal. She’s hopeful such a move would be a first step in re-routing the nation back towards a savings culture.
Diversification of the nation’s energy resources and a move toward energy independence is another item of top priority for Lummis. “Our dependence on foreign energy puts us at risk,” she explained. Noting traditional sources, wind, solar, biomass and the comeback of uranium resources, coupled with energy conservation, Lummis said she sees a better path for the nation to follow.
She also supports Endangered Species Act reform. “More private landowner incentives are needed under the act with more flexibility,” she said. “One size does not fit all with regard to species recovery. The act needs to recognize the flexibility needed by those drafting habitat conservation plans.”
Enforcement of the existing Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA), according to Lummis, would solve many of the problems now surrounding concentration among the nation’s meatpackers. “We can do a lot with issues if we could just enforce the law as it is and that’s true of the PSA.”
When it comes to immigration, Lummis said, “We need immigrants, but we need them here legally, so securing the border is first and foremost. Stop the bleeding; stop the influx of illegal immigrants. And then we need an orderly process in enforcing our current immigration laws with regard to those that are already here. And, I don’t mean amnesty; I don’t mean a blanket pixy dust that says you’re legal. I mean an orderly process to bring about legal status for those who deserve it and deporting those who don’t. Employers in this country need to be more vigilant about who they hire.”
“I’ve had my feet on the ground in corrals in this state,” said Lummis when asked why the agricultural community should support her quest for Congress. “I know who to call in agriculture for good advice and I will pick up the phone.”
Already having attended Lincoln Day dinners and numerous gatherings across the state leading up to her official announcement, Lummis said she’d been asked on multiple occasions if she’s crazy to want to go to Washington as a freshman Congressman. She, on the contrary, sees exciting times for policy-making that will shape America’s future in a rapidly changing world.