Kaysen: Wyoming Group Is Not A ‘Left Wing Organization’
Wyoming Association of Municipalities (WAM) Interim Executive Director Rick Kaysen says that group is not a left wing organization that typically works against conservative proposals in the Wyoming Legislature.
Kaysen, who is the former Mayor of Cheyenne, spoke on KGAB radio on Thursday morning in response to recent statements by Republican state Senator Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne) about WAM.
The senator last week on KGAB said WAM, which lobbies for 99 local governments across the state, has ties to the National League of Cities.
Bouchard says that group, in turn, receives funding from a pair of liberal activists, former New York City Mayor Micheal Bloomberg, and billionaire Hungarian-American businessman George Soros.
Bouchard questioned why WAM has "one of the best-looking, newest buildings of any lobby group in Wyoming. Where did they get the money for that?" Bouchard accused WAM of supporting increased government regulation and hidden budget items.
He also said, "if it's a conservative issue, WAM is probably against it."
But Kaysen on Thursday disputed Bouchard's characterization of WAM's political orientation. He said WAM is actually "very diverse," representing cities ranging from Cheyenne to towns with only a few residents.
Kaysen said to call WAM left wing "is not a fair characterization."
He says the organization represents 77 percent of state residents, and as a result basically reflects Wyoming's political orientation, which Kaysen says is "moderate to conservative."
WAM recently opposed House Bill 137, which would have allowed the concealed carrying of firearms into government meetings.
Kaysen says WAM supports that issue being decided at the local level. He says the organization is a strong backer of the Second Amendment.
Bouchard. one of the primary backers of the bill in the legislature, argues the Second Amendment and the Wyoming Constitution both give people the right to carry firearms into such venues.
The 2017 legislature passed the bill, but it was recently vetoed by Governor Matt Mead.