WASHINGTON DC — Wyoming was well represented this month in Washington. The U.S. Senate heard testimony from two Wyoming witnesses in February on forestry legislation and how we can improve public safety in Indian Country. It’s always beneficial for Washington to hear firsthand from folks from Wyoming who often provide the best solutions to complex problems.
Wyoming Comes to Washington
Jim Bolding and his son Daniel visited the office this month. Daniel, a junior at Lander Valley High School, was awarded a scholarship to attend the 2014 Congress of Future Medical Leaders, National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists in Washington. Wyoming can always use more doctors and I wish Daniel the best of luck in his future studies.
It was also nice to visit with elementary and middle school principals this month from Cheyenne’s Alta Vista Elementary School, Cody Middle School, Gillette’s Twin Spruce Jr. High, and Rock Springs’ Walnut Elementary School. We talked about ideas to help ensure our students in Wyoming continue to get the most out of their education.
Saratoga Business Owner Testifies on Forestry Bill
On February 6th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on my bill to help improve forest health, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and create more jobs in Wyoming and across rural America. The National Forest Jobs and Management Act (S. 1966) specifically reduces the costs, uncertainty and delays associated with planning and litigation for routine forest management projects in our National Forests. This makes it easier for the Forest Service to treat more of our forests that are overgrown and suffering from disease and insect infestation.
One of the witnesses who testified in support of my legislation was Clint Georg, a co-owner of a sawmill in Saratoga that employs more than 150 people. Clint testified that increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration will help improve our wildlife habitat, air quality and protect our watersheds. He also highlighted that restoring our forests while increasing timber sales will lead to revitalizing rural economies, including communities like Saratoga.
Senate Hears from Wyoming Member of Tribal Law and Order Commission
On February 12th, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee welcomed members of the Tribal Law and Order Commission, including Wyoming’s Affie Ellis, to testify about some of the key findings from the Commission’s recently released report, “A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer.” Affie, a member of the Navajo nation who grew up in Jackson and now lives in Cheyenne, was appointed to the Tribal Law and Order Commission in 2010 by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at my recommendation.
As a co-author of the Commission’s report, Affie outlined some of the specific recommendations on how we can better address certain deficiencies in the Indian Country criminal justice system. Affie’s hard work, thorough research and thoughtful input will help Washington better understand what we can do to improve public safety in Indian Country.
Looking Ahead to March
In March, President Obama is expected to release his budget proposal for fiscal year 2015. If it’s anything like previous budget proposals, I expect it to include more taxes, spending and budget gimmicks.
If you or someone you know will visit Washington this spring, please let me know. I’d enjoy meeting with you in the office and scheduling a tour of the U.S. Capitol.