GOP returning to party it was during Reagan years

Sharon Hall

Political parties in Wyoming are private organizations. However, unlike most private organizations, they are bound, not only by the bylaws they create, but also by state statute, Title 22.
Since the Republican State Convention in mid-April, there has been some concern by people regarding proposed bylaws changes that were presented by a county in Wyoming, and even concern that the proposed changes ought not to have been considered in the first place. It is an important part of the process that ALL proposed state bylaws changes that are voted on during county conventions be discussed, amended, and voted on in the Bylaws Committee at the State Convention, to be presented to the full body of the convention for consideration. All proposed state bylaws changes submitted by counties get equal consideration in the committee.
The major proposed bylaws changes that have been of greatest concern, that were amended, discussed, and voted on, that did not pass out of committee, would have allowed the Wyoming Republican Party (WRP) to decide if people who claim to be Republicans truly hold Republican values. It is a rather controversial topic, even being described as Stalinistic by some. Misguided attempt or not, the proposed bylaws changes were an attempt to remove some Democrats at heart from the WRP.
One of the best things for Wyoming would be a strong Democrat party. When registering to vote, there are people who choose their party affiliation as Republican while they espouse Democrat values, and openly state so. There are elected Republican precinct people in Wyoming who display yard signs for Democrat candidates. There are, indeed, Democrats in the Republican party in Wyoming.
Was this major proposed bylaws change the answer to getting Democrats out of the WRP? Should they go? Should private organizations be forced to accept anyone into their ranks even when those individuals’ values do not align with the organization’s? Shall we accept that this is the way it’s always been in Wyoming and it’s the way it will always be?
I am not implying that the recently proposed bylaws changes to oust people from the WRP were the way to go, but more honesty and integrity from everyone as they choose their party affiliation when they register could go a long way.
As a note, this is how section 22 of the WRP Platform reads: Freedom of speech is a fundamental right secured by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Wyoming. Freedom of speech includes the freedom of the individual to express his or her beliefs, ideas and opinions without fear of retaliation, censorship or legal sanction by government (emphasis added).
Personally, I love the Wyoming Republican Party right now, and it’s exciting to be a part of it. It’s moving back toward the party I remember when I voted in my first presidential election for President Reagan.
PS – I wouldn’t go so far as to equate Republican politicians with the Republican party. Politicians may or may not share the same principles as the party.
(Sharon Hall is chairwoman of the Big Horn County Republicans.)