Oct 1, 2015

Tea party speakers warn of liberal influence in Wyoming

Conservatives must oppose the redefinition of marriage, eroded religious liberties, continued abortions, Wyoming’s moderate Republicans and a leftist effort to rewrite national education standards, urged speakers at a recent gathering of tea party supporters.

“We must stand against these neo-barbaric hordes that would plunge this society into anarchy and chaos,” said state Rep. Nathan Winters, R-Thermopolis.

Winters kicked off the series of speakers at the Aug. 15 Big Horn Basin TEA Party in Emblem, talking about the importance of liberty. The pastor expressed concern about religious beliefs — such as opposition to gay marriage — being excluded from the public square.

Wyoming Gun Association Director Anthony Bouchard holds aloft a poster of state Sen. Fred Emerich, R-Cheyenne, during August's tea party picnic in Emblem. Cody News Co. photo by CJ Baker
Wyoming Gun Owners Association Director Anthony Bouchard faulted Gov. Matt Mead and “your good Republicans” in the state for failing to resist federal healthcare and firearm regulations. He singled out Mead for keeping on or making liberal appointees in state government and for putting in “big government.”

“We have to go after them. We can’t let them just do what they're doing,” said Bouchard, whose methods include mass mailings and radio ads.

“If we don’t do this soon, I don’t think we have five years before they turn this into California,” he added later.

Fellow speaker Jim Nations of Casper, who started a group called the Cassandra Project, blasted the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. He said the standards are “crap” and will destroy children’s critical thinking.

“Those leftover communists and Marxists and Leninists and Maoists ... have a direct hand in all of this,” Nations said.

State Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell (at right), was among the roughly 100 attendees a the Aug. 15 Big Horn Basin TEA Party picnic in Emblem. Cody News Co. photo by CJ Baker
He said another new group, called “The Cody 300” and led by Carol Armstrong, will lead the pushback in Cody.

Nations said the Cody group is named after the legendary Spartans who fought off a large army of Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae, picked because “it’s a small group of us ... that have to stand against the invasion into our homeland, into our school, into our communities and into our hearts.”

Earlier this year, a group of conservatives, including Armstrong, objected to new reading materials that had been proposed for the Cody district. Their objections ultimately resulted in the materials being withdrawn so the curriculum selection process could be revisited.

Other speakers included Rebeka Brown of Heritage Action for America and Shannon Walker of Northwest Battle Buddies, a group that provides service animals to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Prominent picnic attendees included former Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill and a few current legislators, including Winters and Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell.

Attendance was down from a year ago, when rock star/conservative activist Ted Nugent took center stage.

(Editor's note: This version has been corrected to say that conservatives stopped the implementation of new reading materials, not standards, in the Cody school district.)

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