Conservative Wyo. surgeon named senator
By BOB MOEN, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Republican John Barrasso, a surgeon
and conservative Wyoming legislator, was named as the
country's newest U.S. senator Friday to replace the
late Craig Thomas.
The temporary appointment, announced by Wyoming's
governor, is effective immediately, but it won't
effect the Senate's party breakdown since Thomas was
also a Republican. He died June 4 while being treated
Barrasso, 54, will serve in Thomas' place until the
beginning of 2009. He said on his application that he
also intends to then run in a November 2008 special
election to serve out the remainder of Thomas' term,
which ends in 2013.
Barrasso also left no doubt that he will be a
conservative voice in Washington.
"I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less
spending, traditional family values, local control and
a strong national defense," the orthopedic surgeon and
state senator from Casper wrote in his application.
He said he has "voted for prayer in schools, against
gay marriage and have sponsored legislation to protect
the sanctity of life."
Barrasso did not immediately return a telephone
message from The Associated Press seeking comment
State Republican Party officials had given Gov. Dave
Freudenthal a slate of three nominees from which he
had to choose the temporary replacement for Thomas.
Freudenthal, a Democrat, chose Barrasso over Cheyenne
attorney Tom Sansonetti and former state Treasurer
"There are many factors that went into this decision,
and it was the sum of these factors that led me to
this choice," the governor said. "While I don't intend
to indulge the speculation on why I made this
decision, I will say that I hope I made the right
Barrasso, a state senator since 2003, rose quickly in
the Legislature and became chairman of the Senate
Transportation, Highway and Military Affairs
He ran for the U.S. Senate in the 1990s, but lost the
1996 Republican primary to Mike Enzi, now the state's
University of Wyoming political science professor
James King said the state won't see much change in its
political representation in Congress, though
Barrasso's medical background will bring some
practical knowledge to issues like heath care reform.
Rep. Barbara Cubin, also from Casper, said she looked
forward to working with Barrasso in Washington.
"John has served Natrona County well in the state
Senate and will take that excellent work ethic to the
floor of the U.S. Senate," Cubin said.