FORT LARAMIE – Harriet Hageman often refers to her family members – her late father, Jim, mother Marion, and her siblings. They are her root family, but she considers residents of her small rural home community, Fort Laramie, as well as Goshen County, and the State of Wyoming, as extended family.
This was emphasized last week when she and her husband, John Sundahl, traveled the state to announce her candidacy for governor of Wyoming.
“It’s been phenomenal,” Hageman said during a quiet moment following her announcement in the Fort Laramie High School gym where she often fouled out of games because of her determination to win. “Especially the last four days when we’ve travelled 1,400 miles and held nine events around Wyoming!
“This is the part I like,” she added with a smile. “I want to reach out to the people, and you can only do that on the road.”
According to Hageman she saved the hometown event for last as a homecoming, where about 300 guests listened to her purpose and goals, and cheered her on.
Hageman declared her purpose in running for Governor immediately -- “To take the power out of Washington, D.C., and return it to the people.”
She continued, “Threats by the United States Government threaten the stability of our everyday lives,” she said. “We need to be in charge of our own destiny. We have to correct that shift in the balance of power.”
She then asked, “What can a governor do to correct it?”
According to Hageman, it takes one person to realize the situation and act to restore the power to the states and individuals, and she is willing to take on
“If it’s not granted by the federal government, then it has no power to take it away,” she explained, adding that state government is closer to the people and can be more effective.
She noted that the writers of the U.S. Constitution believed that individual rights don’t come from government, but from God. This is true of State’s rights, also, she said.
Hageman continued by noting that over the past 30-40 years, things have changed, with the federal government assuming more power over education, energy and the economy at the expense of states and individuals. State governments have also shifted, taking more interest in statewide issues.
She said teachers should be able to do their job without interference from the federal government, which can cause more harm than good.
Also, she believes government should be proportionate to the number of citizens it serves, and be accountable to them. Wyoming resources should be utilized for the benefit of its citizens, and that will take a strong leader to enforce, Hageman said.
She said that economic development, state and federal, should be for the betterment of the citizens, not growing government, and a full accounting should be made of those expenditures.
An attorney for nearly 29 years, with 20 focused on water issues, Hageman explained her decision to seek public office.
“I love what I do, and have done, but now I believe I have been called to serve, to make a difference, and I aspire to be that one governor to make
“I’m not anti-government,” Hageman emphasized. “I believe in good government. I’m a problem solver and I think I can right the ship.”
Hageman said she had personally called all of Wyoming’s State representatives and senators to invite them to her meetings. “We definitely had some phenomenal conversations,” she recalled.
Although they all didn’t show up, Hageman said she will spend two weeks in Cheyenne during the Wyoming Legislature’s Budget Session next month talking to legislators and learning more about the budgeting process.
“I’m looking forward to that,” she admitted. “The legislature represents the people and they should decide the priorities.”
Other Republican candidates in the race are Sheridan businessman Bill Dahlin and Rock Springs veterinarian Rex Rammell. Wyoming’s Primary Election will be in August.