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Wind River students question Barrasso on issues

Wind River students question Barrasso on Obamacare, Second Amendment issues

Feb 19, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk Staff Writer

The U.S. senator visited the Pavillion high school during a whirlwind tour of Wyoming.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., visited Wind River High School in Pavillion on Monday at the request of a student there.

Senior Stephin Littleshield said he wanted Barrasso to speak at this year's WRHS graduation event, but the senator's schedule wouldn't allow him to be in Pavillion in the spring.

"So he made the extra effort to make an appearance (now)," Littleshield said. "We are very thankful."

The trip was part of a whirlwind tour for Barrasso, who didn't stop anywhere else in Fremont County this week. Barrasso said he enjoys visiting Wyoming schools to talk about the importance of education, but in Pavillion he touched on a diverse array of topics in response to questions from the student body.

Littleshield said he appreciated Barrasso's candidness during the 30-minute assembly Monday.

"He was very open," the senior said.

Topics ranged from the Affordable Care Act to the Second Amendment and Barrasso's daily life in Washington, D.C. Students also had Barrasso talk about his views on the new Common Core State Standards Initiative which is being implemented in schools throughout the United States this year, and they asked about his stance on fracking, because many in Pavillion are worried that their water has been contaminated by energy exploration work nearby.

"(They asked) if upward mobility is available to all people equally in the United States, and they had questions on foreign policy," principal Ceatriss Wall said. "It was great. The students did a great job asking questions, and he did a great job answering. He was very personable."

She added that her students came up with the questions for Barrasso themselves.

"We had probably 10-15 students ask questions about current political issues," she said.

Littleshield expressed pride in his student body --he says his peers represent the "best of Wyoming and America."

"We have one of the highest graduation rates in the state," he said. "A lot of our class members are looking to go to college and are in the armed forces. ... We fervently believe we represent the best of Wyoming and America."

Littleshield plans to go to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire next year, and he said Barrasso has invited him to apply for an internship in the senator's office. Each year, a group of social studies students from WRHS travels to Washington, D.C., to visit Barrasso as well as Wyoming's other federal delegates U.S. Sen Mike Enzi, and U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis.

"So they have that connection," Wall said. "It's an awesome experience for them."

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