By Grace Moore
Lifelong local rancher Judy McCullough is running for Senate District 1, saying that many people have asked her to throw her hat into the ring. McCullough has not served in politics before, but has a clear view of what she hopes to accomplish if elected.
One of her goals is to bring accountability to the legislature. “I’d like to go down there and see if we can make some changes as far as making sure we have a government we can pay for and not raise taxes,” she says.
Another aspect of this accountability is taking responsibility, she says, sharing a lesson learned in her own business.
“When you’re running a business, you’re responsible for that ranch, the fences, the livestock…and if you have a hired man who doesn’t want to feed the cows, it’s your responsibility to fire him and get somebody who will,” she explains.
“I think that the legislature forgets who the boss is, coming in with their demands, and that’s all they [do].”
Ultimately, says McCullough, the responsibility lies with the elected people, not the staff.
Among the other strongly held rights that McCullough advocates is term limits.
“It depends on what kind of government the people want; if they don’t want more taxes, they’ve got to look at changing people out,” she says.
Speaking of Wyoming’s agricultural community, she says the state could protect this industry’s private property rights significantly better than it does right now. Talking about those who own the surface and not the minerals, McCullough says that those land owners, “tend to get run over, and they need to be protected.” She admits that the existing law is a good starting point, “but it could be better”.
Added to this issue are the state’s dealings with the federal government. She notes that, if Wyoming ceased accepting federal grants and loans, the state could claim its rights and ownership of the currently federally managed land within its borders, including the forests and BLM, as was “part of the original constitution”, and manage the easements of water, grazing, homesteading and so on at the state level.
“We don’t need to take it back; we just need to quit taking federal dollars so we can take control,” she says.
Ultimately, McCullough is concerned with protecting Wyoming’s freedoms, including, “preserving our gun rights and our private property rights because, without private property and guns, you’re no longer a free people.”