CASPER, Wyo — Yana Ludwig, Laramie resident and Democratic candidate for Mike Enzi’s (R) retiring U.S. Senate seat told Oil City News in an email interview how her view of government has changed over her lifetime:
“I no longer see one party as the ‘good guys’ and one as the ‘bad guys,’” she said. “I think there are systemic issues in governance that both parties participate in, and interesting core values of both parties that can help us get through this.”
She said there’s a lot she’d like to change about how Wyoming votes at the federal level.
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“Wyoming’s federal delegations can be counted on currently to vote against public lands and environmental regulations, [in favor] massive military budgets and tax cuts for the rich, and against humane social services and things like single payer healthcare,” she said. “That will change for one of our seats if I’m elected.”
She said she’s frustrated with the U.S. Senate and Wyoming’s federal electeds for failing to act on policies that could help Wyoming miners affected by bankruptcies in the industry.
“Economic policy that favors corporate interests hurts every state, but we can especially see that right now with the slow death of the fossil fuel industry. Our miners have been subjected to repeated rounds of bankruptcies from out of state owners who face no consequences for literally stealing their workers paychecks and pensions. All three of our federal electeds have sat on legislation that would have helped.”
Ludwig said she’s seen what happens when a mining-dependent town doesn’t plan for what’s next.
“We had a lot of suicides and addiction,” she said of growing up in Iron River, Michigan, “and kids like me got used to noticing who didn’t have lunch that day. I see Wyoming headed for a similar future because our elected officials stubbornly refuse to deal with the inevitable transition.”
She said her proposal for a “Wyoming Public Bank” would provide a mechanism for funding that transition at lower cost and keep “Wyoming money in Wyoming instead of sending it off to Wall Street.”
She said the U.S. Senate has refused to act on issues.
“Mitch McConnell has blocked votes on a roughly 7-foot high stack of bills, essentially preventing every Senator from every state from being able to do their jobs for their people.” Ludwig added, “It’s simply wrong and obstructionist.”
Ludwig also said the Senate needed to have higher standards in in appointing heads of agencies that “have worked productively in the past for the interests those agencies are meant to represent.”
On a Green New Deal:
“We need a Green New Deal that is as much a jobs-creation program as an “environmental” program, and it needs some particular focus on us fossil fuel states,” Ludwig said. She endorses Bernie Sanders’s proposals which she said would create 20 million union jobs across the country that Wyoming would be well-suited to perform, including:
- installing rural broadband all across the state
- creating renewable energy and green transportation infrastructure including high-speed rail
- a reinvestment in sustainable agriculture infrastructure,
- legalized marijuana,
- massive tree planting similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps.”
On health care:
I favor Single Payer healthcare to cover everyone equally, and include mental health, dental, vision, preventative care, full reproductive healthcare, and long-term care. Access to medical care would no longer be tied to having a job with benefits, and we would all have more choice about which doctor we go to and types of care we receive.
I also favor either strict price caps on drug prices or turning the pharmaceutical industry into publicly owned utilities. Right now, Big Pharma uses public money to develop drugs and then prices them so high we can’t afford them.
Anything short of that will keep profit-motive in our healthcare, which is making it so that only the wealthy get what they need. Profiteering keeps it far more expensive than it needs to be. We also need special attention on our rural hospitals. We struggle to keep doctors and nurses in Wyoming. We need to make sure there is adequate funding to support them and quality facilities. We also need payments for services to be streamlined and not vary based on who is paying the bill, but rather to pay fair prices for the services people receive so our hospitals are doing well.Yana Ludwig
Ludwig said she is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and has battled chronic Lyme disease: “I’m a voice for voices that are normally ignored in our political process,” she said.
She said she has 30 years of experience with nonprofits and cooperatives, mostly focused on “sustainability, economic and racial justice work,” and said she said she is a “huge fan of public lands,”
She said her 2017 book, Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption focuses on “locally self-determined responses to the climate crisis and includes a full Green New Deal platform.”
She said she’s organized campaigns for issues relating to “polluter pay bills, public banks and carbon fee-and-dividend programs.”