Governor candidates swing through Sublette

SUBLETTE COUNTY – Gubernatorial challengers to Gov. Mark Gordon furthered their campaigns recently in hopes of upending the sitting governor in the upcoming Republican primary.

Brent Bien of Sheridan hosted a town hall at the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room last week to meet potential voters. It was the first time Bien has campaigned in Sublette County. Bien promotes himself on a conservative platform. He criticized Gov. Gordon for the state’s pandemic response and recently said, “nobody is protecting the freedoms of the people in the state of Wyoming,” while talking about the state’s Washington delegation.

As governor, Bien said he wanted to get the state’s budget under control and providing more government accountability. He’s also campaigning on more energy production and bringing more sovereign power to the state’s education system.

Bien also criticized Gov. Gordon on opposition to the current Biden administration, saying, “I don’t see Wyoming leading in anything, really.” He acknowledged Gov. Gordon’s opposition but said it was more of jumping on the bandwagon rather than leading. The State of Wyoming has sued the federal government on vaccine requirements in all forms, mask requirements and oil and gas leasing sales.

Rex Rammell, who is also running for governor of Wyoming, held a press conference on May 18 to vow he would seize 30 million acres of federally managed public lands if he were elected governor. Rammell, who previously ran for office in Idaho and Wyoming as a Constitutionalist, said he’d be able to achieve this vow under the Tenth Amendment. He said the Constitution does not give authority to the Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service, or federal government as a whole to manage not only public lands but also national parks.

“I concluded they unconstitutionally controlled the land, which means all of the public policies enacted and enforced by the federal government are unlawful,” he said.

As governor, Rammell suggested he would start a “states’ rights revolution” to “force the federal government back” into a limited role.

He swore that, if elected, he would sign an executive order on his first day in office “to order state police to walk all federal land managers out of their offices.” That would include all BLM, Forest Service, Park Service, Fish and Wildlife, and Game and Fish employees.

Rammell campaigned in the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room last year while in the county for his ongoing brand inspection appeal. Rammell was charged with violating brand-inspection laws in June 2019. Following a series of procedural developments, Rammell was found guilty by a six-person jury of the charges on May 26, 2021. He’s represented himself in this case and has continued to appeal that jury decision into this year.

The primary for governor is scheduled for Aug. 16 ahead of the election on Nov. 8. Candidates have until May 27 to official file for the position.