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Priorities for the Legislative Session

Papers around the state trumpeted headlines this morning listing the legislative priorities declared at yesterday's opening session.

Reviewing the opening remarks reveals that both sides have their eyes on the same issues: a stronger economy, healthier Wyomingites, safer communities, better education. There are a lot of different ideas about how we get from here to there--and there is sure to be some disagreement. But everyone is on the same page in terms of what Wyoming needs for a brighter, healthier future.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to be looking for a silver bullet--particularly for the state's economy which, for too long, has been predicated on a single industry, for too long has treated men's lives as expendable, for too long has been boom and bust such that when the bust is over and the boom comes back our citizens and our institutions take a while to get back on their feet, for too long has overlooked women, for too long has undercut the importance of education even as wealth creation has become increasingly tied to intellectual property, for too long has chosen to look away as our young people move to other states.

We lost population again last year, one of only nine states to do so.

We lost ground in terms of health outcomes, insurance coverage, and cost of healthcare.

We rank last or near the bottom in terms of many important measures for women: pay equity, female representation in elected offices, healthcare and maternal safety.

We can change this.

The data show that states that insure more of their citizens have healthier workforces and more worker productivity. The data show that pay equity improves overall economic output. The data show that accessible childcare is good for business.

We can create an economy that works for all Wyomingites and reflects the values of the Equality State.

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