Hats off to the Republican voters of Wyoming House District 26, who saw through the smoke screen put up by challenger Rob DiLorenzo and voted overwhelmingly to re-nominate Elaine Harvey to the district’s seat in the House of Representatives.
DiLorenzo, a Big Horn Basin Tea Party activist, ran an aggressive, hard-hitting campaign in an attempt to characterize Harvey as a “progressive,” the current national buzz word that carries a negative connotation among those on the far right side of the political spectrum. Rather than touting his own credentials, DiLorenzo went after Harvey with a barrage of advertisements and mailings attempting to brand her as being somehow representative of left wing politics when nothing could be further from the truth.
Make no mistake about it, politics is a full contact sport, and Rep. Harvey was more than ready to meet the challenger on the field of battle. But it was dismaying to see the political discourse sink to a level that stunk of the kind of politics we’re not used to in Big Horn County as the challenger sought to demonize and mischaracterize Harvey and her voting record.
As chairman of the House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, Harvey has had to deal directly with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. She should be praised for her thoughtful consideration and study of the ramifications of the act on Wyomingites as chairman of the committee, not hammered for refusing to pick up her toys and run home. Rather than taking a “bury your head in the sand approach” that so many opponents of the plan prefer, Harvey did the right thing and has worked hard to understand and somehow try to adjust the plan with its one-size-fits-all approach to rural Wyoming.
It’s not an easy task, but it’s Harvey’s job and she has done it well, attending countless meetings and working with many experts in an effort to do what’s right for Wyoming citizens. Throughout the process, Harvey has learned about the many pitfalls the act presents for Wyoming, not the least of which are the insurance exchanges called for in the act that simply do not work well in sparsely-populated Wyoming.
If anything, all of Harvey’s work has hardened her opinion against the Affordable Care Act, but DiLorenzo would have you believe that she supports it. That’s bunk.
Rob DiLorenzo may well be a good man, and he certainly appears to have skills that could benefit the voters of Big Horn County. But his attempts to cast Harvey in a highly unfavorable light on a small number of highly ideological issues that are more the stuff of national politics was unfair and disappointing.
Elaine Harvey is not a perfect representative. No one could be. But she has worked hard for the citizens of House District 26, putting what’s best for the people – her constituents – ahead of purity of ideology. And she refused to take the negative path during the campaign, choosing, instead, to stand on her record.
That’s the kind of representative we need in Cheyenne, and it is good to see that voters ignored the smokescreen and are sending Harvey to represent us in the Wyoming Legislature once again.