U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi visited the opening session of Girls State Saturday afternoon and spoke to the girls about his own experiences at Boys State. He congratulated the girls for being selected as delegates and encouraged them to take advantage of the …
More than 100 girls from around Wyoming arrived in Powell Saturday to participate in 69th session of the American Legion Auxiliary Wyoming Girls State at Northwest College.
While in Powell, the girls, all of whom will be entering their senior year in high school next fall, will spend a week of intensive activity studying government and participating in education sessions, including mock trials and mock legislative sessions. They will elect officers from the city level up to state and national offices and participate in activities promoting patriotism.
U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi visited the opening session of Girls State Saturday afternoon and spoke to the girls about his own experiences at Boys State. He congratulated the girls for being selected as delegates and encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunity to become active in their communities.
“The best thing that will happen to you here will be meeting other people from around the state,” Enzi said. “It’s a great opportunity; make the most of it.”
Of his experience in the U.S. Senate, Enzi said it is possible to accomplish legislation despite partisanship. He told the girls he has managed to get 51 bills passed, including nine that were signed by President Obama. He said he did that by focusing on what the two sides can agree on by remembering what he calls his 80 percent rule.
“I’ve found we can agree on 80 percent (of an issue), but we get angry over the other 20 percent,” Enzi said. “You can’t always compromise, but you can do what you agree on.”
In answer to a question about his greatest legislation he has been able to pass, Enzi said it was his first one. He introduced a bill changing the basis for taxing coal bed methane even though he was told that, as a freshman senator, he had no chance of passing it.
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso spoke to the Girls State delegates Sunday afternoon and told them it’s always reassuring to see “the best and brightest of Wyoming” at the annual event.
He told them a lesson his mother taught him — “This is the most important year of your life.”
“Whatever you do today, this year, is important because it sets the stage for your future,” Barrasso said.
He said the future for Wyoming students is especially bright, since they have the Hathaway Scholarship to help them get through college. Barrasso was one of four original authors of the Hathaway legislation during his time in the Wyoming Legislature.
“My greatest legislative action didn’t take place in Washington. It took place right here in Wyoming ... we wanted to invest in our greatest asset, which is you,” Barrasso said.
Barrasso told the girls Wyoming is blessed with incredible natural resources, and he said he is proud of Wyoming’s balanced budget and “rainy day” savings.
“Washington hasn’t gotten that lesson yet,” he said, decrying federal spending he called irresponsible.
Asked what he’d like to see accomplished in Wyoming over the next five years, Barrasso responded, “I would like for Washington to leave us alone ... our air, our water. Let us make the decisions, because we do a pretty good job at it.”
He said he wants the health care law to be repealed and replaced, and he wants Wyoming to gain control of the gray wolf population.
One Girls State delegate asked Barrasso if he’s considered running for president.
“They have enough candidates this year,” he said. “I love what I do — representing the people of Wyoming.”
Rep. Cynthia Lummis and Wyoming first lady Carol Mead are slated to speak at Girls State later this week.
Representing Powell High School at Girls State this year are Kimberly Moore and Desiree Murray. Other area delegates are Erin Worley, Kristanza Bronnenberg and Shira Lee of Cody and Susannah Robertson, Melissa Ellis and Schuylar Davis of Lovell.
Also participating from Powell is Rachel Bjornestad, a delegate last year who was elected to attend Girls Nation.