Barrasso, Cheney win leadership roles

Wyoming News Exchange

By Nick Reynolds

Casper Star-Tribune

Via Wyoming News Exchange


CASPER — For a state with fewer than 600,000 people, Wyoming just got much more powerful on the national stage. 

On Wednesday, two-thirds of its Washington delegation — Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney — were elected by their peers to leadership roles within the Republican Party, arguably giving Wyoming the most influence it has ever had in Congress. 

Barrasso, chairman of the influential Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, was elected Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference this week, making him the third-highest ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. A rising star in the Republican Party, Barrasso achieved a signature victory earlier this year with the passage of a major, bipartisan Water Infrastructure Bill — which came out of his committee— and a close alliance with President Donald Trump.

“It’s an honor to be elected chairman of the Senate Republican Conference,” Barrasso wrote in a tweet. “I’m grateful for this new role and look forward to working with the Conference & the administration on solutions to the challenges facing Wyoming & the West.” 

“This leadership position will give our congressional delegation even more opportunities to advance Wyoming’s interests on a national stage,” he added. 

In the lower house, Cheney won the title of conference chair — the third-highest position in the Republican party — to follow in the footsteps of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who also won the role. With her election, she becomes just the third Wyomingite to ever achieve a leadership role in the House of Representatives. 

Wyoming has had influential members of Congress at several junctures throughout its history. However, Wednesday’s news gives Wyoming the most influence it has had in Congress since the days of Sen. Alan Simpson, who served as Republican whip from 1985 to 1995. Dick Cheney, as a member of the House of Representatives, spent one year as conference chairman in 1987, followed by several months as minority whip. 

“Congrats to my friends and colleagues @SenJohnBarrasso and @RepLizCheney on being elected chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and chair of the House Republican Conference,” tweeted Sen. Mike Enzi, Wyoming’s third delegate in Washington. “It is wonderful to have them both representing Wyoming in these leadership positions.” 

“This will help our state’s voice to be heard through the noise,” he continued. “I’m confident they will serve the Cowboy State, our conferences & the country well. These choices, first by the people of Wyoming and then by other members of Congress, make a strong Wyoming delegation even stronger. “... I doubt that any other state has that much clout. It’s really something for one state to be in this position, but we’ve earned it.”


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