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Senate candidate Brockie says EPA opinion on borders should be kept

Aug 19, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

With his 50th birthday one day after the primary election, Travis Brockie is hoping for an early present in the form of the Democratic nomination in Wyoming Senate District 25. He filed for that office earlier this year.

"I think it's an honor and a privilege to seek office. I've done quite well here in this community and my education experience and my talents -- I want to offer that to the community," Brockie said. "I think I could be an effective legislator."

The Fort Washakie man is the director of the Arapaho Tribal Engineering Department. He served on the Fremont County Solid Waste District Board for six years and is the tribal representative on the Wyoming Water Development Commission.

Brockie is a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. He faces Sergio Maldonado in the Democratic primary for the seat now held by Republican Cale Case.

He holds a master's degree in civil engineering from Norwich University, a bachelor's in the same field from the University of Wyoming and an associate of arts degree from Central Wyoming College.

Water and tribal-state relations are major issues for Brockie.

"I want to make sure we keep moving forward developing our infrastructure and water resources," Brockie said. "It keeps our economy going not just our jobs but ... it allows us to have a sound infrastructure allows for economic diversity whether you're developing housing or developing business districts."

He thinks he could improve cooperation between state and tribal governments.

"In tribal and state relations, there's been a lot of misunderstanding, and I think having more native representatives in the legislature will help," Brockie said.

The EPA's 2013 decision which included determining the Wind River Indian Reservation's boundaries and finding Riverton was within them was appropriate but misunderstood, Brockie said.

"I would advocate that we accept the EPA's decision," he said. "It's appropriate based on existing federal laws and the agreement we have with the Northern Arapaho tribe and the Eastern Shoshone,"

Upholding the decision would not change the status of land on the reservation, he said, nor would it change law enforcement jurisdictions.

"I think it gives us a great opportunity for us to have cross-jurisdictional authorities we need to be able to work together and recognize each other as separate government."

He is also interested in expanding Medicaid in Wyoming.

About 18,000 low-income Wyoming residents make too much money to receive Medicaid under current rules but too little to be eligible for subsidized private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. That law provided money for the state to expand Medicaid to cover those people, but Wyoming's government has not accepted those funds so far.

Opponents to Medicaid expansion argue the state cannot count on the federal funds to pay for it.

"It's up to the state to make sure that the federal government holds up to that promise," Brockie said.

Environmental regulations have been crucial to allow development while protecting the environment, he believes, but the EPA's recently released rule calling for reducing carbon omissions is a complicated issue.

"We have great natural resources in coal, and how we develop it is vital for our economy," Brockie said. "We do have to contest (the new rule) but at the same time we have to find innovative ways to produce our coal so we don't pollute our environment."

He supports state funding for research at the University of Wyoming into cleaning coal emissions.

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