October 31, 2021
Interrupting the business of the Wyoming Legislative Special Session is no easy task. But last Thursday, October 28th, it happened. It wasn’t on the agenda either. While in session, during discussions on crafting legislation to curtail vaccine mandates, the Speaker of the House, Eric Barlow, was calling on a member, when a voice was heard coming from the background. It was the voice of House Representative Steve Harshman, who was heard, on a hot mic, while attending the session on Zoom, said, “F….Chuck Gray…that f……faggot!” Speaker Barlow said, “Somebody on line needs to turn off…thank you.” He said nothing at that moment regarding Harshman’s comments.
Many, who listened to the audio were stunned that the former two-term Speaker of the House, would use such a vulgar epithet, in an unprovoked ad hominem attack on another member. They couldn’t believe their ears. Since that time the audio portion has gone viral. Why did Steve Harshman, Natrona County High School football coach,18 year member of the House of Representatives, Catholic, and educator, use such despicable and vile language, directed at another member of the House? It was appalling to anyone with an ounce of decorum and public sensibility.
On Friday, October 29th, Harshman drove to the Capitol to apologize to the body of the House and to Chuck Gray. His full apology can be read on-line. Harshman admitted it was a “breach of conduct on the floor of this House and it is not acceptable.” What were the consequences for his verbal assault? Revocation of Harshman’s right to participate in the special session virtually for “breach of conduct.” Thats it? Representative John Bear, HD 31, wants to consider further punitive action against Harshman, including a plan to bring a motion for censure next Monday. We aren’t optimistic on that front.
Libertysplace4U insists that Steve Harshman should resign from the House. Not just for the vulgarity. We’ve all heard the F-bomb before. Some may use it in casual private conversations. There’s some distinction between launching such vulgarity directed at an inanimate object, versus using it to verbally assault another individual in a public setting. It’s pivotal to understand the context in which it occurred. Although he was on Zoom, Harshman was simultaneously serving as a Representative of HD 37, in session, and being paid. He has the liberty to use that language when he’s bending an elbow with his buddies or in private confines. HIs claim of “murmuring cuss words” at home, thinking he was not on live, holds little sway, considering his 18 years in House. Is he claiming naivety?
However, we believe the primary issue is that Harshman’s attack was symbolic of his contempt specifically for Chuck Gray’s record of sponsoring liberty minded, constitutional legislation, and consistently calling for voice votes on legislation, that to their chagrin, exposes those who are hiding behind a GOP label. Gray is on record for fiscal responsibility and no new taxes. That’s in stark contrast to Harshman’s record of voting for tax increases and legislation that polishes his own star.
It doesn’t stop there. Harshman’s contempt and apparent hubris translates to his disdain for the average grass root, liberty loving citizen, who are poised, ready to take back our county and the Wyoming Legislature. That’s you and I. Why did he call Chuck Gray a “F……faggot?” It’s a pejorative term aimed at homosexual men or boys. Was he implying that Chuck Gray is homosexual? Harshman’s use of the term is troubling for one who’s been a teacher and coach for more than 25 years, who must understand that the term is beyond the pale for public consumption. Where is the voice Wyoming Equality?
Would he tolerate such vulgarity from the young men he coaches, if it was directed at another teacher or staff member at NCHS? It has been reported Chuck Gray accepted Harshman’s apology. Chuck was being magnanimous. Contact House Speaker Eric Barlow calling for Harshman to resign. ( eric.Barlow@wyoleg.gov )
If Representative Steve Harshman refuses to resign, we will call on the NCSD board at their next meeting to remove him from his coaching and teaching assignments. His conduct, in our opinion, disqualifies him to serve in either role. He crossed the line of comportment, and must be held accountable. We at Libertysplace4U solicit your support, and encourage you to contact the NCSD Board and demand his removal (email addresses below). We contend such language of contempt must have more dire consequences than a slap on the wrist.
Yours for Liberty,
NCSD Board of Trustees
Raymond Catellier – Chair – email@example.com
Clark Jensen – Vice Chair – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Applegate – Treasurer – email@example.com
Rita Walsh – Clerk – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyla Alvey – email@example.com
Dana Howie – firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie McCullar – email@example.com
Thomas Myler – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kianna Smith – email@example.com