Confident, strong, upfront and fearless – these are but a few terms I would use to describe Liz Cheney. A fourth generation Wyomingite, Ms. Cheney announced her bid for the Senate against incumbent Senator Mike Enzi on July 17, 2013 and immediately Wyoming was in the spotlight with talk about the younger female conservative taking on the eighteen-year veteran.
As a Wyomingite, and a young(ish) conservative woman I was thrilled to hear this news, as were conservatives from all over the country who were suddenly asking me about my state, many of them envious of the potential to have a real fighter in the Senate – a strong voice for conservatives. Recently, it was my great pleasure to speak with Ms. Cheney and ask her a few questions about her campaign, her views and what she can do for Wyoming, and the US.
SJ: Why have you chosen to run in Wyoming at this time and how do you respond to criticisms that you are “carpet bagging?”
LC: Wyoming has always been my home. As a fourth generation Wyomingite, my family settled here in 1907 with agricultural roots in Fremont County. My great grandfather also worked in the Salt Creek oil fields and my grandmother was the first female deputy sheriff in Natrona County. Wyoming is a place where the values are ones I was raised with. There was never a question of running from someplace else. And now with our freedoms under assault from the Federal Government and a president who doesn’t seem concerned about violating the Constitution, we cannot afford “business as usual” in Washington DC; that’s why I’ve decided to run.
SJ: What are your key issues?
LC: My key issues focus on fighting against Federal overreach. Obama believes in massive government spending and more taxes – he has really given federal agencies free reign to expand their power and authority in ways that are directly affecting and hurting Wyoming families and businesses. Wyoming needs representation in Washington DC, a strong, conservative voice who is willing to stand up, fight and lead. Someone who doesn’t just say, well, I voted for the coal industry – but someone who is willing to push back on the war on coal. We can’t sit back for the next three years and just hope Obama doesn’t do too much damage, we must fight to prevent it.
SJ: Do you feel your father’s political track record is an asset or a liability to your campaign?
LC: First of all, he and my mom have both been incredible teachers and I am very proud to be their daughter. I think what my dad did, especially after 9/11, putting policies in place to keep us safe, and I am grateful for all of that. My dad is a very wise person, and he was thrilled when I told him I had decided to run. He will not be on the trail with me; this is about the future and my belief of what I can bring to the state of Wyoming. I plan to earn this one vote at a time.
SJ: What differentiates you from Senator Enzi?
LC: Senator Enzi has been in office for 18 years, there comes a time when new leadership is needed and a new generation must step up to the plate. People need to ask themselves if the role of the Federal Government has gotten any better, what results have we seen and how effective has the incumbent been in standing up to Obama and the assault on our freedoms. During the campaign a range of issues will be discussed, like the Internet Sales Tax which was Senator Enzi’s main and most important accomplishment. Senator Enzi believes our leaders can operate under the 80/20 principle, where everyone in DC supposedly agrees with 80% and can compromise. Unfortunately compromise becomes capitulation and we can’t afford that as a nation. People say Senator Enzi has seniority; he has in fact said himself it’s a benefit. I believe seniority is a problem in Washington DC; too many people have gotten too comfortable.
It has been wonderful to be on the campaign trail, so heartwarming to be out around the state, really for the last four years, in every single county talking to people about their hopes and concerns. Wyoming is a wonderful place because people take their role in Democracy so seriously and are so engaged in every corner of the state.
SJ: Why do you think conservatives continue to focus on social issues that appear to run counter to embracing smaller, less intrusive government?
LC: I disagree with the premise of this question – the people who seem to be the ones putting social issues front and center are the Democrats. For example, they seem to think the only issue women care about is contraception. Democrats like to operate this way, putting people in categories and speaking only to certain groups about these issues. Conservatives need to focus on being the party of opportunity, the party of the American dream. We shouldn’t let the Democrats accuse us of only being concerned with those issues. One of the real contributions the Tea Party has made is to get people focused on fiscal issues and understand that our elected officials work for the people. In the end we have to make the case that we have the best solutions and that we can save the country from the path the president is taking us down. As conservatives we care deeply about these issues, but we also care deeply about fiscal responsibility, limited government, low taxes and a strong, national defense.
SJ: Given recent developments of Obama stating he would seek authorization to strike Syria via Congress, if you were on the floor during this debate, what position would you take and why?
LC: Number one, I think the president has so bungled Middle East policy at this point we’re left with very few good positions. Number two, I haven’t seen anything in the media that would make me feel comfortable to vote for what the president is proposing. I would vote no. Obama says we are going to send a message to Assad; you should never use our military for that objective. Since the day he walked into office he has made the US look weak and indecisive with no credibility. Now that he’s gotten himself backed into a corner he’s looking for some type of military action. The real question is who would we be helping at this point so there are no good options for us and I’m worried the president is looking to take military action for political reasons.
I asked Ms. Cheney if there was anything she’d like to add on national issues. She brought up Obamacare and the subsidies Congress is being “bribed” with.
LC: I think the subsidies Obamacare provides for members of Congress should be stopped, and while Enzi has signed a piece of legislation that is not enough. Senators shouldn’t get special treatment and instead of just signing legislation that is not likely to pass, we must stand up against the subsidies and return them to the treasury.”
As I was finishing up the phone call I thought for sure Ms. Cheney would be in a hurry as her schedule is very full, and yet she made time to ask me about myself, what I do for a living and we talked as fellow mothers for a few moments. Liz Cheney is a mom, a wife, a strong conservative woman and a freedom fighter – she is the total package.