JACKSON, Wyo. — Wyoming’s lone U.S. Representative Harriet Hageman held a town hall this morning, Jan. 20 at Teton County Library, painting a dire picture of issues related to the national debt, transparency and immigration.

About 30 members of the community, including media, attended the event.

“We have to hold people accountable because we are to the point where not holding them accountable is in some ways I guess supporting the bad decisions that they have made,” Hageman said.

Hageman reported on legislation she is involved in and shared that she was named to two committees, the House Judiciary Committee and the Natural Resource Committee.

The legislation she has sponsored or co-sponsored includes:

  • To prohibit United States assessed and voluntary contributions to the World Health Organization
  • To prohibit Federal agencies from banning gas-burning stoves
  • Border Safety and Security Act of 2023
  • Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to require that the Supreme Court of the United States be composed of nine justices
  • Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
  • Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020
  • Impeaching Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, for high crimes and misdemeanors

Aside from her two committee appointments, Hageman also discussed the two new subcommittees, which were part of the negotiations that helped Kevin McCarthy win Speaker of the House: The Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party and a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government as a select investigative subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary.

Hageman said she hoped to be appointed to the latter.

On the topic of transparency, Hageman said, “I fully support Kevin McCarthy’s idea of releasing all 14,000 hours of videotape. Put it out there. Let us figure it out. Let us see what happened. Let us see who was there. We need to find out to what extent there were agent provocateurs and FBI members embedded in what happened on Jan. 6.”

Hageman’s claim that FBI agents were provocateurs on Jan. 6, 2020 has been unsubstantiated but the new subcommittee on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government” will investigate the Justice Department.

National debt

Hageman’s speech also touched on how “we are almost $32 trillion in debt.”

According to reporting by the Associated Press, as of yesterday, the government has run up against its legal borrowing capacity of $31.381 trillion, there have been roughly 80 deals to raise or suspend the debt limit since the 1960s.

Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

“In 10 years, it is going to be mandatory that social security is cut by 23%,” Hageman said.

“One of the solutions that I have is, we know there is a lot of waste, fraud, and abuse in our government, we know of tens of billions of dollars that was misappropriated from with COVID funds, Hageman said. “I say that every dime that we can recover, from waste fraud and abuse, we shove that in to shore up social security and medicare to make sure that that is available in the long term.”

Hageman spoke about cutting government agencies to reduce the debt ceiling. She said the first department she would cut is the Department of Education.

“Did you know we don’t grade students? I just found that out not that long ago. We don’t have the ABC and Ds, we have what they call standard-based grading, but there is no standard. I know we can educate kids because everyone in this room is educated,” Hageman said.

“The reality is we don’t need 87,000 people in the Department of the Interior…there are a lot of agencies we can cut and bring them back to the safe.”

U.S. / Mexico border

Hageman called the situation at the border “Stunning.”

“The great economist [Milton Friedman] said, you can either have a welfare state or an open border but you can’t have both. One is going to collapse the other,” Hageman said.

“Equal justice is one of the most critically important aspects of our constitution. We treat people the same. We don’t care about skin color, we don’t care about any of that,” Hageman said.

She then made an example about how if two people are caught speeding they get the same ticket. “We have equal protection under the laws in the country and it is supposed to apply to everything,” Hageman said.

Prompted by a question from the audience, Hageman also called the situation at the border an “invasion.”

Hageman asked, “What do you do in little schools in Wyoming when you have children that don’t speak English and we don’t have the ability to hire someone who speaks whatever language they speak? What do we do?”

“I would describe Joe Biden as the largest human trafficker in human U. S history,” Hageman said. “I just don’t get what the end goal is there.” The crowd responded with “yes’s” and “amens.”

According to reporting by the Associated Press, on Thursday Biden announced that the U.S would begin turning away Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the border from Mexico illegally. Title 42 remains in place as migrants flee violence across Latin America.

Hageman also touched on Teton County Housing issues briefly, but offered no solution except to say, “You have to have the strength and willingness to do it.”

“We’ve got a problem with housing, right here in this community but you’re not going to solve the problems taking a 12-acre parcel [Teton County Fairgrounds] right over here for a long-term housing issue in Teton County. Ninety-seven percent of this county is federally owned, three percent is private. You’re going to have a housing problem when you’ve got those kinds of metrics, there is no way to solve that. Well, there is a way to solve it, but you have to have the strength and willingness to do it,” Hageman said.

Hageman concluded the engagement by saying, “I think that our eyes are open now more than they have been in any time in history at least in my lifetime and people are willing to fight back and willing to claim what is rightfully ours.”

Members of the media were not permitted to ask questions during the town hall, but reporters spoke to Hageman after the conclusion.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.