Feb 11, 2016

Congressional candidate Rex Rammell lays out goals, discusses his past

Voters in the Big Horn Basin may be unfamiliar with Republican congressional candidate Rex Rammell and a quick Google search paints what he considers to be a misleading picture of his character — allegations of poaching, jury tampering and defying authority.

“That is the only thing I am worried about, if people do that, they will get one side of the story and it is not the friendly side,” Rammell said. “Anybody that puts up a fight against government these days, you can expect hell if you put up any kind of a fight at all. Our society is such a police state any more — they don’t like resistance.”

Rex Rammell
Rammell ran an elk operation in Idaho and an order was issued to kill his elk that had escaped his property. One was killed in front of him, he said.

“I sat on the elk and I told (Idaho) Fish and Game they couldn’t have her,” Rammell said, adding that he was acquitted six months later.

The only ding on his Rammell’s record is for hunting in the wrong zone (a misdemeanor), he said.

“I had a license and a tag, my tag wasn’t valid in that area — that is hardly poaching,” Rammell said. “Where I come from, if you don’t have a violation, you haven’t been in the woods. They have the dumbest rules.”

Rammell hails from Tetonia, Idaho, on the Idaho/Wyoming border. While in Idaho, he ran for U.S. Senate in 2008, governor in 2010 and the Idaho House of Representatives in 2012. He was defeated in all three elections and moved to Wyoming to work as a veterinarian.

“I have never done anything in Idaho that I am ashamed of, or in Wyoming,” Rammell said, noting he was arrested twice — once for the elk incident and another for handing out informational papers on to a jury outside of the courthouse during his Idaho Fish and Game trial. The papers provided details on how juries can ignore the judge’s orders, he said.

“The judge wasn’t going to let me present a defense,” Rammell said, noting the defense he had lined up was an Idaho law that you can’t be charged with a crime when there was no criminal intent. “I was trying to get them to do a jury nullification on my trial so I could have a defense and I got arrested for it.”

Rammell’s charges were reduced from jury tampering to contempt of court and he paid a fine so it’s not on his record, he said.

“Most people go to (Washington) D.C. and become criminals and I already have that behind me — all those things were in some form of protest,” Rammell said.

This image appears on Rex Rammell's campaign website.
He attributes the negativity surrounding his online presence and his failed campaigns in the past to fighting government authority.

“I have always supported killing wolves and I still do,” Rammell said. “I think they were dropped on us illegally and if I had authority I would have every one of them killed.”

His stance on wolves spurred an unexpected headline claiming he wanted to hunt for President Barack Obama, he said.

During a speech about wolf hunting, he said he asked the crowd if they were ready to hunt for wolves and a member of the crowd said she would like a tag for Obama.

“It took me by surprise and I said I would buy one of those and the next thing I knew the headlines were ‘Rammell wants a hunting season on Obama’ and I had to explain what happened there — I got more votes from that because people thought it was funny,” Rammell said. “The FBI called me up and asked if I was serious and I said it was a joke. I don’t like the guy, but I don’t want him assassinated. It is really easy to make the headlines unintentionally ... they will distort the meaning of what you do or did that is just politics.”

“Most people go to (Washington) D.C. and become criminals and I already have that behind me,” Rammell quipped. “All those things were in some form of protest.”

He said he moved to Wyoming to ignore politics and work as a veterinarian.

“Liz Cheney is being pounded for being a carpet bagger and people ask how I am different, but the difference is I never left the West,” Rammell said.

Then in December, he heard Cynthia Lummis was not seeking re-election and decided he would give politics another shot, he said.

“The honest truth is we need someone willing to fight and take a risk. Thomas Jefferson said ‘when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty’ and that has been my mantra all my life actually. I think a congressman willing to fight would be a nice change,” Rammell said. 

Now he’s trying to finish what he started trying to do in Idaho — turn over federal lands to the state.

“Returning public lands to the state would be the greatest thing to ever happen in the West,” Rammell said, adding that it would impact marriage, abortion and gun rights as well as education and industrial sectors. “I am a one-issue candidate, but it rolls over into many issues.”

Rammell said he believes Wyoming would not be in its current financial situation if the state controlled the land.

“Wyoming is going to go broke without the mineral industry,” Rammell said. “I am from Gillette and people are freaking out there, losing their jobs and worried there’s not enough money to run the county. If we owned the ground, then confidence would come back in the coal industry and we could determine our own future on that and oil and gas — it is a big issue that impacts a lot of people and industry.”

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