Ordinary individuals step up to serve – March 2017

Wyoming is the least populated state in the nation which for many folks is one of the benefits of living here.  Given our small population, it’s sometimes surprising how Wyoming has had great influence on national affairs.  We’ve had a lot of Wyomingites serve in important posts during our short history.  While other states have millions of people to choose from to represent them at the national level, our population, which is smaller than many cities, still seems to pick some pretty good people.

Every year the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) selects one member of Congress for their Golden Plow Award and this year they selected Senator John Barrasso.  This is the first Wyoming legislator, that I’m aware of, to receive this award and we certainly are pleased that Senator Barrasso is this year’s recipient of the AFBF Golden Plow Award.

Senator Barrasso has worked on a lot of issues that were high priority for AFBF such as repeal of the WOTUS rule which would have extended the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into almost everyone’s field.  He was a leader in the Senate to fight the EPA’s efforts early on in the WOTUS issue.  Senator Barrasso also has worked to repeal the excise tax levied on a health insurance company’s net premium as part of the Affordable Care Act.  This tax on premiums would increase premiums for consumers.

When the Forest Service proposed rules for groundwater management that would have led to restrictions on private water rights Senator Barrasso proposed S. 982 to protect private landowners from these proposed rules.

In addition to these actions, he has supported a number of important bills supported by the American Farm Bureau dealing with natural resource management.

Other Wyoming political leaders have also been leaders on the national scene which considering how small our population is makes that quite remarkable.

Sometimes on road trips I think about this phenomenon.  I’ve always believed that when you don’t have a lot of folks to do things, the ones who are there and recognize there’s a problem step up to the plate to do the work.  In other more populated areas, there is the temptation to let the other person do it for you.

Maybe that’s why when our country was beginning we seemed to have had so many people step up to the plate to do what was necessary to form a new country.  Those people knew that there wasn’t anyone else that would do the job, so they just stepped up to the plate and did it themselves.  And because they did, ordinary individuals made some amazing choices that provided the world with a country ruled by the citizens, not a king, or emperor or a dictator.

It’s just a theory of mine.  But maybe it helps explain why we in Wyoming have had a large percentage of people rise to the higher levels of leadership.

By Ken Hamilton, WyFB Executive Vice President

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