The rural Cheyenne rancher, businessman and retired doctor is running for the Republican nomination for governor, as are Gov. Matt Mead and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill.
Haynes, speaking to more than 50 people at the NWC DeWitt Student Center Lounge, said if he wins the nomination and the election, he can change the Wyoming GOP.
“When I’m governor ... it’s a new day in the Republican Party,” he said.
That “new day” would include some revolutionary ideas, as Haynes revealed during the two-hour presentation. He said the state has the power to nullify federal laws within its borders.
That’s an old argument that goes back to the 1790s and continued 30 years later when South Carolina expressed its right to “veto” federal laws. Other states have attempted to nullify federal laws, including in the years leading up to the Civil War, and again in the 1950s and ’60s when Civil Rights issues came to the fore, but none have succeeded.
While it has been revived in recent years by tea party members and other conservatives who point to the 10th Amendment, courts have consistently ruled that states cannot decide which federal laws apply within their borders, citing the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which has been interpreted to mean that only federal courts can decide which laws are constitutional.
But Haynes said he feels he has the right and duty to nullify federal laws and actions that he perceives as illegal.
“Nullification is, in fact, our job,” he said.
The U.S. Constitution is clear on it, Haynes said.
“It means what it says,” he said. “It is very simple language.”
Haynes said he would prevent abortions in the state, in part by mandating that pregnant women view an ultrasound of their fetus, which he said will stop 90 percent of the procedures and force abortion clinics out of business.
In addition, he said he would work to outlaw them entirely.
“I’m all for it, all for it,” he said.
Wyoming is a wealthy state that needs to take control of its assets, Haynes said. It could then decline federal funding, and by doing so, not be forced to follow federal mandates.
This would also bolster the state’s economy, providing more and better-paying jobs for people, he said. That’s why he does not have an expansion of government health care programs, since people making good money in “the energy patch” could afford their own health-care coverage.
Haynes said with Wyoming asserting its authority, it could also take control of Yellowstone National Park and make it a state park.
National parks are “a scam,” he said, and an “over-reach” of the federal government. When the state was formed, the federal government lost all rights to designate part of it as a national park, Haynes said.
The Wyoming National Guard should be kept in the state, he said, unless Congress declares war. Haynes said he also wants to provide proper care, including mental health treatment, for veterans who may be in need of it.
That goes for non-veterans as well, the retired suregon said. He said community-based facilities can offer more care for those who need assistance.
But he said he doesn’t think people who have struggled with mental health issues should be denied access to a gun.
“I understand the concern, but no, I would not have that as a disqualifier,” Haynes said.
He said he doesn’t believe in “background check nonsense” and said the government has no right to place any limits on gun ownership except for felons in prison or those who have yet to complete terms of their probation.
Otherwise, he said, if people want to own an F-16 fighter jet, “go ahead.” Haynes said people should own and know how to use guns and should carry them concealed, which will end crime.
People will not assault or attack others if they’re not sure if the person they are targeting is armed, he said.
He said gun control means this to him: “The people who have a gun should know how to control it.”
He wasn’t content merely to assail the federal government and its agencies. Haynes also had harsh words for President Barack Obama, calling him “a puppet and an idiot.”
The far-right talk was well-received by the audience, as applause broke out several times and people nodded their heads as Haynes spoke. He said he was merely being honest, not mean.
“I’m not hard-hearted, but I’m not soft-headed, either,” Haynes said.