- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Republican Party delegates in two counties have voted to censure GOP Gov. Matt Mead over his role in stripping duties from the state schools superintendent.

The censures indicate some intraparty discontent with the governor as he seeks a second term this year.

Delegates to the Hot Springs and Platte county conventions each approved their own censure of the governor last Saturday.

The Hot Springs County censure noted the “unconstitutional behavior of Governor Mead in trying to usurp the power of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.”

A tally of the Hot Springs vote wasn’t immediately available, while the Platte County censure was passed on a 36-1 vote.

In addition, Lincoln County Republicans passed two measures that refer to the superintendent issue without naming him. And the Uinta County GOP debated but did not pass a censure measure, according to local party member Jana Lee Williams.

Mead, through his spokesman Renny MacKay, said he appreciates the discussions that occurred in GOP county conventions throughout the state.

“Gov. Mead respects free speech rights - the rights of all Wyoming’s county parties to voice their thoughts on the direction of the state,” MacKay said in an email to the Casper Star-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1jEODaX).

The recent censures referred to Mead’s signing a bill last year that replaced the superintendent of public instruction as head of the Wyoming Department of Education with a director appointed by the governor. The change came in the middle of Republican Superintendent Cindy Hill’s four-year term.

Hill challenged the law in court, and the Wyoming Supreme Court this year ruled the law unconstitutional.

MacKay said Mead will respect the court’s decision and move forward. The case is back before a lower court, which will issue a final order in the lawsuit.

Mead is seeking re-election this year, and Hill and Cheyenne physician and rancher Taylor Haynes have announced plans to challenge him in the GOP primary.

Hill did not return a message from the Casper Star-Tribune about the censures.

Haynes, who did not support the superintendent law, said Wednesday that he doesn’t intend to campaign on Mead’s censure.

But he said the censures show more people are paying attention to the Constitution.

“They want public officials who take an oath to hold and defend the Constitution held to the standards of keeping their oath,” he said. “I think it’s a positive sign for our body politic that people are paying attention. It brings ‘government of the people’ back to the table.”

The state GOP convention is set for May 1-3 in Evanston.

Hot Springs Republican Mike Gular, who supported his county’s censure resolution, said the censure could become an election issue.

“You can say, ‘He just got censured by his own party.’ In a primary, it can be helpful,” Gular said.

In 2010, Mead won a contested primary by 703 votes and handily won the general election.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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