Energy is the industry that powers every other industry. While there are many issues that challenge our state currently, the support of energy is a critical issue for me. This issue sits at the top of many Wyoming families hierarchy of needs. Coal, oil, and gas truly are the back bone of our society. Energy is the difference between poverty-stricken areas where manual labor is the only option. Revolutionized societies with coal, oil, and gas operating machinery, provide comfort. This is indeed a society where people live to their fullest potential. All our advances are made possible through a machine labor civilization, driven by fossil fuels. Our energy must remain affordable, plentiful, and reliable. When the energy industry is running at full potential food is more affordable, clothing plentiful, housing is better, and even medicine is impacted.

I often think about how lucky we all are to live in a state where minerals have provided resources, (in every aspect of our lives) to the people of Wyoming. Our educators are largely funded by this very industry as are many other businesses. Wyoming’s youth have even benefited significantly with the amazing gift Mr. Stan Hathaway bequeathed to Wyoming’s future – in the Hathaway scholarship. Hathaway became a reality because of the fossil fuel industry. An industry in which Mr. Hathaway believed fervently.

After meeting many candidates in the governor’s race one person has left me passionate and confident about the future of our state. The possibilities are limitless! Mrs. Hageman’s excitement is contagious. She exudes grace and is extremely thoughtful and authentic. I was transformed when I saw her writing in notebooks regarding the issues people had confided to her, all over the state of Wyoming! I asked her how many of those notebooks she had filled. The answer was nothing short of “stacks” in my recollection. This solidified, to me, that she cared deeply for Wyoming and our people. While there are many areas that Mrs. Harriet Hageman shines, I would like to focus on the issue that has me most concerned for Wyoming families. I carry the burden of active efforts being made in this state to eliminate our legacy industries daily. Here are just a few links to read. Based off my research there is a real effort to eliminate our industry in this state. This article describes how efforts have been made to stop drilling in parts of our state. https://oilcitywyo.com/associated-press/2018/07/05/purchase-puts-more-of-wyoming-range-off-limits-to-drilling/ Can you guess who commissioned the study to shut down drilling? If you guessed the Sierra Club, you are correct! Here is another news source describing how an owner of Colstrip is being encouraged to dump coal for renewables. https://trib.com/business/energy/colstrip-co-owner-encouraged-to-dump-coal-for-renewables/article_813f62c4-09ac-573e-94a4-efc8943593e5.html?utm_content=buffercb34b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=LEEDCC We need only to look toward Colorado to see another agenda that will completely stop drilling. It is called initiative 97. Read about it here: https://www.coloradoan.com/story/opinion/2018/07/15/opinion-initiative-97-threatens-colorados-public-school-funding/776320002/

I was lucky to secure an interview with Mrs. Hageman about my concerns. It was no surprise to me when she took time out of her incredibly busy schedule to speak with me regarding my concerns. This opportunity also confirmed for me that Mrs. Hageman will make herself available to the people of Wyoming!

I asked Harriet how she regarded the fossil fuel industry. She replied, “We must embrace, support, defend, protect and advocate for our minerals industry.” She was sincere! As a therapist of twenty years, I have found that my barometer for people is exceptionally accurate.

I asked her to expand on her vision for our specific industry. Her response immediately took the tension out of my body. I relaxed because I know she is honest. Fossil Fuels is the industry that has supported five generations in our family.

Mrs. Hageman stated, “The development, management, and use of our natural resources finance the Wyoming economy, including funding our schools, our infrastructure, and our public services (just to name a few).” As I look around my town of Casper, this statement resonates with me. I have seen multiple businesses pull their shingle and leave town. The war against our families and our industries is not over. With Harriet Hageman in our corner, I believe I can relax. I will always stay vigilant; however, she gives me the feeling it will be okay to rest for a while.

I inquired about her advocacy for coal, oil, and gas families. Again, I was left speechless. For the first time in a very long time, I feel supported! Mrs. Hageman stated, “We should be proud of these industries and challenge any effort to limit or destroy our producers and business owners. The development of these resources has improved not only the standard of living of those of us in Wyoming, but the standard of living of citizens throughout the United States and beyond, generating a level of prosperity unrivaled in world history. We must aggressively market these industries not only in Wyoming and the United States, but throughout the world. We must fight to defend and support these industries, with the state taking an active role in blocking not only regulatory overreach, but other outside forces that seek to turn Wyoming into something that we do not want, and that seek to prevent us from moving our products to the outside markets. I believe we need to pursue a value-added approach for our energy sector by which we develop those businesses and industries that fill the niche, “upstream and downstream” of such things as oil and gas development; coal, trona and uranium mining; and other aspects of our energy sector. Investing in the necessary infrastructure to transport our products is an important aspect of our long-term planning. We must focus on ensuring that we have adequate roads, highways and rail service throughout the state. Investing in such facilities now will ensure that we have a bright, bright future for Wyoming. Our Wyoming energy families are the bedrock of our communities, our culture and our financial stability. I will always fight to protect our energy sector. Always.”

While she spoke with such passion and intelligence I knew she was the right woman for the job in Cheyenne. I do believe Mrs. Harriet Hageman is going to be one of the greatest governor’s of the state of Wyoming. From one energy family to another, this is my analysis. If you have not had an opportunity to meet this incredible woman and her team I would suggest you reach out! She is the real deal! I can finally say, I am with her!

Shawnna Punteney

Editor’s Note: Harriett Hageman Website