WHEATLAND – Senior U.S. Sen. From Wyoming, John Barrasso visited students at Wheatland High School April 7. Students from Close Up who usually travel to Washington to learn more about how government works and how it applies to their lives and how it applies to where they live.
Due to COVID restrictions, many student trips were canceled within the last year, the Close Up trip to Washington being one of them.
“All the time I’ve been in the Senate, students from this high school have come to D.C. every year for a program called Close Up,” Barrasso said. “They are just the best and the brightest and they always ask great questions. It’s wonderful to be with them and to come here and try to answer their questions that they have and that they usually bring with them to Washington.”
According to closeup.org, “During a tumultuous time brought about by the Vietnam War and anti-war protests, Close Up’s founder Steve Janger saw a growing cynicism amongst young people surrounding American government and policies. Driven by a desire to help young people gain a better understanding of their government, he founded the Close Up Foundation in 1971 – the same year 18-year-olds were granted the right to vote.
“Close Up’s mission was built on the idea that young people from all backgrounds need a better understanding of the democratic process and their responsibility as citizens. The concept was simple: give students the opportunity to directly engage with the people, organizations, and institutions that represent our democracy, and they will develop the skills and attitudes they need for a lifetime of active citizenship. Close Up’s first program included 554 students from Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas. This first group of students included Tim Davis, Close Up’s current president and CEO.”
Barrasso was asked many questions in his session with students. Topics were covered from illegal immigration to COVID immunizations. Also, of course was Barrasso’s outspoken stand against some of the policies by the current administration.
In a question concerning the outcome of the 2020 election which is still quite a hot topic in all of America, Barrasso was candid in his answers as to how he felt about the outcome.
“I’m a guy that has supported Donald Trump, worked for Donald Trump, campaigned for Donald Trump and actually campaigned with him in 2016,” Barrasso said. “I was with him then in Pennsylvania and with his family in Ohio the week before the election. So I was terribly disappointed with the outcome and now what we have is Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House, a 50/50 Senate, Chuck Schumer the majority leader in the Senate because President Biden is in the White House and Kamala Harris is vice-president who can break the ties in the Senate. I am not happy with the direction that they’re trying to take the country and I’m doing everything I can to stand up for what the people of Wyoming value, Wyoming’s resources as this administration has really gone to war with the Rocky Mountain west, the resources, our jobs and the energy we use to power the country.”
As for addressing the accusations of voter fraud, Barrasso reiterated that his job is to uphold the constitution which gives each individual state the right to certify their own elections.
“My focus now is on the election in 2022 trying to retake the House, retake the Senate and then get the Presidency back in 2024, for the Republicans and for a much more conservative approach than what I see coming out of Washington today,” Barrasso said.
As for his stand on COVID inoculations, being a physician, he has stated that he thinks it’s a good thing, citing the Polio pandemic that he lived through as a child and how the vaccination was effective in preventing the spread of that disease and as a result, the United States has been Polio-free since 1979.
“As a doctor I know that the best thing you can do in cases like this is to try to come up with a vaccine that works,” Barrasso said. “With President Trump signing ‘Operation Warp Speed’ which we passed through the Senate 96-0 with our major piece of legislation over a year ago we were able to get a vaccine developed and distributed in less than a year, which breaks any kind of record for all time.”
Barrasso went on to say that the scientists have grown and learned many things about creating vaccines and said that it would greatly benefit the country more expediently in the future should another pandemic break out.
“I’ve gotten the vaccine and I recommend it for others,” Barrasso said. “The safest way for us to get back to normal is to have more people vaccinated.”
When talking about the COVID pandemic, the topic turned to China and its goal to become world dominant. Barrasso was very outspoken about being very cautious when it comes to dealing with that country.
“It’s brainwashing, but they call it reeducation in China and it’s all bad,” Barasso said. “That’s not the only area where China is bad. Look at Hong Kong and what they’re doing there and the suppressing of human rights. I think China is a bad actor in a lot of things. They steal trade secrets of companies that are there, they repress people, they bully. Look at their goals for 2025, 2049.Their goal is to be the military, the economic, technological superpower of the world. And their belief is that you can’t have two; you can’t have us and China and it’s kind of a ‘you can’t row together.’ They are biding their time and building their forces. This current administration needs to step up in China.”
Barrasso also pointed out that when Trump was in office the warning was to be cautious of China, while Biden has said that China’s not the problem and China is our friend.
“And I just don’t believe that that’s the case,” Barrasso said. “It’s the Chinese communist party that is doing this suppression. So what is our leverage? You can talk nice to somebody and try to convince them to do something and you can try to inspire somebody to do something. You can try to intimidate somebody to do something. Which teachers do you want to learn from; those that inspire you or try to intimidate you? China is going to continue as it is and it’s worth watching. They are trying to gain their own strength and diminish ours.”
Closer to home, people in Platte County are concerned over the acceleration of green energy and the elimination of coal and oil.
“I’m continuing to fight the Biden administration and his Secretary of the Interior as well as John Cary (United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate) who is their climate czar if you will,” Barrasso said. “I continue to fight them every day for Wyoming jobs, wonderful resources that we have here. We need energy and we need it all. We have all the sources of energy. We have renewables, we have world class wind and we also have the base power which is coal, oil and gas. We need all the energy and all the jobs that come with them and I am going to continue to fight every day for Wyoming energy, Wyoming people and Wyoming jobs.”
Barrasso who was asked most of the major questions that are affecting our nation was also asked about his recent trip to the border and what the national security looked like in view of the caravans coming in from other countries.
“I was there last week,” Barrasso said. “It is something that I hear about here in Wyoming more than you could ever imagine. People want to know that we have actual national security. If you don’t have a secured border then you really don’t have a country. You need secure borders. I noticed some of the changes from this current administration from our last administration. What we have right now is a humanitarian crisis.”
He went on to speak about the COVID facility that was set up to handle 250 young people who were coming into the country without parents.
“They had 7k people crammed into that space,” Barrasso said. “That’s a humanitarian crisis. We also have a crisis at the border where we have 2 million people coming in illegally this year. I think it’s very important that you have to have a border. And you need manpower to make sure that it’s patrolled, and you need technology such as drones to check and keep the border intact. What the wall does essentially is funnels people to where they can actually cross legally.”
Barrasso who had spoken to border agents said there were people coming in illegally from 54 different foreign countries.
“There was a news story yesterday on Fox News where two men have been captured from the country of Yemen,” Barrasso said. “And they are on the terrorist watch list.”