Defending the Wyoming Way of Life

July 16, 2021

I addressed the Senate to express my concerns about two of President Biden’s nominees. One of the simplest yet truest rules of governance is that “personnel is policy.” We’ve seen this rule play out over and over under President Biden. 

During last year’s election, the media created a narrative that a Biden presidency would unite the country with bipartisanship. That has not happened. Many of the president’s policies have been extreme appeals to the far left, and decidedly hostile to our way of life in Wyoming. I believe much of this can be traced to the people with whom he has surrounded himself, and to those he has appointed. That is why I’m so concerned about two of the nominees the Senate is considering. 

First, there’s Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden’s nominee to serve as the director of the Bureau of Land Management. I’m particularly interested in this nomination because the BLM manages 18 million acres in Wyoming, and huge tracts of land throughout the West. We need a land manager who understands, respects and implements multiple use of public lands, with which Americans in the West are particularly accustomed. 

The BLM has historically managed for multiple use, which is in many cases required by law. Under Ms. Stone-Manning, I’m very concerned that multiple use principles will change. The reason is quite simple: This nominee is a radical. She’s been involved with eco-terrorists in the past, including during a tree spiking incident in Idaho. Her extremist ties and past activism have even led a former Obama BLM director to withdraw his support for her. 

Wyoming and other states in the West would be completely hamstrung if BLM land policy changed. Given Ms. Stone-Manning’s militant history, I’m not sure she would care. 

Then there’s David Chipman, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. One would be hard-pressed to identify a worse candidate for the job. According to reports, Chipman may have lost his own gun while serving as an ATF agent. He also failed – twice – to define the term “assault weapon” during his confirmation hearing. This level of irresponsibility and lack of basic firearms knowledge is hardly an endorsement for someone tasked with overseeing gun use in the United States. 

Chipman has also reportedly accused Black Americans who were successful on an ATF test, of cheating because, in his opinion, too many were passing the test. Let’s be real: This kind of discrimination would tank a Republican candidate. Mr. Chipman has also endorsed efforts to defund the police, and has supported the science-fiction-sounding notion of pre-crime arrests. His idea of effective law enforcement would be to arrest people who have not committed crimes. 

I came to Washington to solve real problems and get things done. I don’t care if a solution comes from the right or the left – I’m here to support good legislation and good policy.  That’s why I’ve backed President Biden’s decision to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. It’s why I’ve supported many of his nominees with whom I may disagree on some policies but are nonetheless qualified for the roles – nominees including Janet Yellen, Pete Buttigieg, and Gary Gensler. But, based upon their past experience and expressed behavior, Tracy Stone-Manning and David Chipman have disqualified themselves and are direct contradictions to the bipartisanship and unity that President Biden called for, and promised, in his inaugural address. 

If these extremist nominees are confirmed, they will direct their respective agencies toward ends that are actively and openly hostile to the Wyoming way of life that I’m here in Washington to support and defend. I’m urging President Biden to withdraw these nominees. I will oppose their nominations and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

Click here to view the full speech.