Wyoming News Social Image #5

BUFFALO — “Wyoming solutions for Wyoming problems.”

That is how Rep. Barry Crago, R-Buffalo, describes the work of the newly formed Wyoming Caucus, a group of legislators Crago is a part of who are focusing on “issues back home.” Lawmakers formed the caucus in response to the growing emphasis by some in the Legislature on Washington, D.C., politics.

“I like to focus on the issues, like keeping the hospitals open, to make sure law enforcement has our support, and water issues,” said Crago, who also mentioned mental health as a key problem that the state needs to spend more time on.

He stressed that the Wyoming Caucus – a Republican-only group – was not formed in opposition to any particular organization, but instead is about creating a forum to discuss legislation together.

In recent years, the Freedom Caucus has grown increasingly powerful in Cheyenne, as the far-right bloc votes in lockstep. Consisting of 26 legislators led by Rep. John Bear, R-Gillette, the group has hired an outside political consultant with ties to Washington, D.C., to research certain legislation and provide voting recommendations, according to WyoFile.

"We've been the underdog and still are,” said Bear, when asked if he was concerned that the formation of the Wyoming Caucus might affect his own caucus. “The conservative movement is really representing the grassroots people of Wyoming.”

On April 15, the Freedom Caucus launched an affiliated political action committee, WY Freedom PAC, that has started to raise money to support far-right candidates, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. The Wyoming Caucus also formed a political action committee of its own last month, according to WyoFile.

Bear said that the Wyoming Caucus was merely a rebrand of what he calls the “uniparty,” a group of Republican and a few Democratic legislators who voted together in favor of the budget and other legislative priorities this year.

Crago said that is false. The Wyoming Caucus doesn't include Democrats, and is meant to bring “like-minded Republicans together.”

When asked whether the Freedom Caucus requires its members to vote in a certain way, Bear said, "That's hogwash."

He said that the caucus only provides voting recommendations and does not insist that members vote a certain way.

Crago said that the Wyoming Caucus is about trying to solve common sense problems and that leadership will never tell people how they should vote. He said that while, in the past, the Republican Caucus had been a place to meet, debate and discuss ideas, it hardly ever meets anymore, necessitating the formation of a new group.

The Wyoming Caucus will host formal round tables and meetings with members to help brainstorm new legislative approaches to key issues facing the state.

“This allows us to have open, frank discussions about the issues,” Crago said.

This story was published on April 27, 2023.

(1) comment

The gardener

Lousy so-called reporting. Twice the writer referred tot he Freedom Caucus as "far right". Conservative? Yes! They are by no measure (except that of liberal Democrats) far right. Keep your opinions to yourself! Crago's American Conservative Union rating is a mediocre 65. But I guess that's better than Sommers with a very liberal 52.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.