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Wed January 12, 2011
Legislative committee hears complaint about legislator's eligibility
By Renny MacKay
Cheyenne, Wyo. – A special committee of the legislature heard arguments Wednesday about a newly sworn-in lawmaker's eligibility to serve.
Representative Matt Greene from Laramie defeated Seth Carson in the election last November. Carson formally appealed the election, saying Greene did not meet residency requirements. Under the Wyoming Constitution, a person must live in a district for a year before they can run for office from that district. But Greene was serving in Afghanistan for part of the year preceding the election.
Carson said in opening arguments that he is simply trying to protect the state's constitution. "I hope that you agree at the end of this hearing that the Representative knew what he was getting himself into when he ran for office and he ignored the laws of the state of Wyoming."
The hearing itself was a strange affair, where Carson questioned Greene for about two hours. Carson walked around the room, and was cautioned several times for cutting Greene off when he was trying to answer.
At one point Greene said he felt Carson was questioning his integrity and that the line of questioning was anti-military. Greene also testified that he did not have a permanent home in the district, but rented a storage unit and would have rented a home had he not been deployed. "By entering the military one does not become a resident of the state the military sends him to. It is where one wants to be, the intent. If I become a POW I still intend to live in Wyoming I do not live my American citizenship."
The special committee will have several days to consider the evidence and make a recommendation. Then the full House will vote to uphold or reject the results of the election.