EVANSTON — U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., was in Evanston on Tuesday, Oct. 13, to participate in Disability:IN Uinta County’s 22nd annual awards celebration. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual celebration held to honor the businesses and participants in the program was changed from a banquet to a downtown parade.
Sen. Barrasso is a regular attendee at the annual celebration, and this year, he came to be a part of the parade. The Herald caught up with Wyoming’s junior senator a few minutes before Tuesday’s parade.
Barrasso cited a personal example to demonstrate his support for federal funding for people with disabilities.
“I think the federal dollars are very important,” he said. “The question is, ‘What role should the federal government play?’ People need help, and one way to help is the federal government. Communities help and churches help and, yes, the federal government absolutely has a role to play. I have a goddaughter that was born sightless; she is now 26 and very bright and wonderful. If it weren’t for a caring mom and dad, a community that helped and federal dollars, things would have been a lot different for her. She is a success because of the community, like people here in Evanston, the federal government, all of it together helping her. Yes, I think federal dollars are very important and federal and state government play an important role in programs that help people with disabilities.”
Barrasso said he would continue to support funding for programs for people with disabilities. He said he has always been supportive of the program in Uinta County and has attended the annual celebration for years to thank and celebrate the businesses and the community for their practice of inclusion for those with disabilities.
He said it is that commitment of the people and the businesses in Uinta County and Evanston that make it such a wonderful place. The state needs to celebrate and honor the programs that work and share the stories of the champions who make it work, he said, and that would encourage other communities to be more inclusive.
“The federal government gave Wyoming $1.25 billion,” Barrasso said. “They have the money, it’s in an account. I do my job to work toward changing the law in order to cut the Washington strings attached to how those monies are spent. The legislators at the state level need more flexibility on how they spend those federal dollars in order to benefit more people. The time limit on spending the funding also needs to be extended. If they only have until Dec. 31 to spend it and we haven’t even elected the next legislature, it doesn’t make sense. They need more flexibility and extended time but we have to wait until after this next election to see what can be done.”