Check your Wyoming PBS program guide for schedule information.
On November 1, Wyoming PBS is providing Wyoming voters with the only statewide broadcast debates among candidates for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The debates will be broadcast live on Wyoming PBS, streamed live at wyomingpbs.org, and streamed or broadcast live or delayed (rebroadcast) by some or all of our partners, Wyoming Public Media and the Wyoming Business Report.
The debates will be held at the Little Theater on the Central Wyoming College campus in Riverton and will be open to the public. If planning to attend, please note that the audience must be ready to be seated by 6:45 p.m., and no signs, buttons, campaign literature or paraphernalia will be allowed in the Little Theater.
The first debate, at 7 p.m., is between candidates for a 6-year United States Senate term, including John Barrasso, Tim Chesnut and Joel Otto.
The second debate, at 8 p.m., is among candidates for a two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives, including Richard Brubaker, Daniel Clyde Cummings, Chris Henrichsen, Cynthia Lummis and Don Wills.
Wyoming candidates for the U.S. Senate Debate, held Nov. 1, 2012
Wyoming candidates for the U.S. House Debate, held Nov. 1, 2012
Submit Your Questions for the Candidates
Viewers are welcome to submit questions to moderator Richard Ager for consideration via email to email@example.com or via Twitter, before the broadcast or live, to #WyoPBSdebates. Questions may be directed to specific candidates, specific races, or to candidates in both debates.
Please note in your email whether you would want the moderator to identify you as the source of a question, or if you'd prefer to remain anonymous. If we modify or combine questions, we will not identify the source. If we mention your name on the air, we would like to identify your home town.
The debate will be conducted with the candidates at a table on one side and the moderator
and panel members on the other. There will be no opening statements, but the first
question will essentially ask candidates to describe their qualifications for the office
sought. We will allow 1 minute for that first question. Subsequent questions will have
a 45 second time limit for responses, with the moderator deciding whether to allow
a follow up question with a 30 second response. Green-amber-red lights will alert
candidates and moderators to time limits.
During the debate, the candidates will answer questions from the moderator and guest
journalists. They will also have the opportunity to pose questions to each of the other
candidates. The debate will end with each candidate given 90 seconds for closing
Coin tosses or drawing straws with the candidates or their representatives before the
event will determine the seating and the order candidates will be called upon during the
debate. The Moderator will give a brief introduction of each candidate, no more than 20
Decision 2012: U.S. Senate Debate, Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m.
John Barrasso, Republican
U.S. Senator John Barrasso was appointed to the United States Senate in 2007 following the death of Craig Thomas. Shortly after, Barrasso was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 4, 2008 with 73% of the vote. Prior to that, Barrasso represented Natrona County in the Wyoming State Senate.
Many have come to know Barrasso as "Wyoming's Doctor." He has a long and recognized career in both medicine and public service. During 24 years as an orthopedic surgeon in Casper, Barrasso served as President of the Wyoming Medical Society and was named Wyoming Physician of the Year. He served as medical director of the Wyoming Health Fairs, bringing low-cost health screening exams to people all around the Cowboy State. Barrasso has hosted Wyoming's Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for more than 20 years.
In addition, Barrasso was a rodeo physician for the Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association and volunteered as a team physician for Casper College as well as local high schools.
In the U.S. Senate, Barrasso is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee and is Vice Chair of the Indian Affairs Committee. He is also Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus.
Senator Barrasso has three children - Peter, Emma and Hadley. He and his wife Bobbi live in Casper.
Tim Chesnut is running in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Wyoming. He defeated Al Hamburg and William Bryk in the August 21, 2012, Democratic primary. He will face incumbent John Barrasso (R) and Joel Otto (Wyoming Country Party) in the general election on November 6, 2012.
Joel Otto, Wyoming Country Party
Joel Otto lives in Lander on a family ranch with his wife Robin and four children. He holds an an AS degree in mechanical engineering technology from Vermont Technical College. Robin and Joel are home schooling as well as managing the family ranch and investments.
Joel has worked outside of government his whole life, successfully organizing to block rural zoning and supporting free market solutions. Besides working as a design engineer, he has been active in the Wyoming Republican and Libertarian parties, is a member of the board of directors of the Wyoming Liberty Group, and the ranch is host to the Wyoming Liberty Fest.
As a student of government, economics, and policy, Joel brings a fresh perspective to politics. After working behind the scenes for years, Joel is ready to publicly challenge politics-as-usual and be a voice for better services, lower taxes, and smaller government.
Cynthia Lummis was elected to represent the people of Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. She was raised on her family ranch in Laramie County. She graduated from the University of Wyoming with bachelor degrees in Animal Science and Biology. In 1979 Cynthia was elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives. She returned to the University of Wyoming for her law degree, which she received in 1985.
Cynthia then clerked at the Wyoming Supreme Court, practiced law in Cheyenne, and served a total of fourteen years in the Wyoming House and Senate. Cynthia was elected Wyoming State Treasurer in 1998. In eight years (two terms) as Wyoming State Treasurer, she converted Wyoming’s primarily fixed income investment portfolio of $3.5 billion to a fully diversified portfolio of equities, real estate and fixed income investments, public and private, domestic and international, totaling $8.5 billion. Her term of office as State Treasurer ended in January 2007.
People ask "why would you want to get involved with politics?" The answer is simple – our country is on a collision course with disaster. If we continue on the path we're on now, the future of our republic is truly in jeopardy. The wealth of our country is being squandered and opportunities that previous generations had will not be available for our grandchildren. Don Wills will not just sit around and watch this happen.
Don was raised in a town of 10,000 in downstate Illinois. He received a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1973. He built a software business and raised a family in the Chicago suburbs for 30 years. Don knows what it means to own a business that must make a payroll for the families of 65 employees. In 2006, he moved from the corrupt and dying state of Illinois, choosing to live in Jackson Hole to experience the grandeur of the Tetons and Yellowstone. In 2010, he purchased property in rural Laramie County near Pine Bluffs, where he lives today.
Don has the experience and drive to help restore our country to a land of opportunity for future generations. As a supporter of Ron Paul for 25 years, Don saw the disdain heaped upon Ron Paul by Wyoming Republican Party leaders in 2008, so he left the GOP and became chairman of the Wyoming Libertarian Party. After recognizing that the Libertarian Party is not a viable political party, he joined with several others to create the Wyoming Country Party. The dominant themes of the Wyoming Country Party are to get rid of the tax and spend, big-government-supporting progressives that infest the Wyoming GOP, and to return the authority and responsibility to Wyoming for those functions of government that are reserved to the states by the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution.