A state legislator from southern Iowa took to the floor of the Iowa House to praise “courageous cowboys” in the state of Nevada who armed themselves to protest a government action against a local rancher. State Representative Larry Sheets, a Republican from Moulton, spoke for nearly six minutes Wednesday afternoon.
“The government must be careful not to appear to be out of control and must follow the law or there will be violence like in the case of the Oklahoma City horror,” Sheets said.
A 21-year-long dispute between the federal Bureau of Land Management and a rancher escalated earlier this month, with federal agents rounding up nearly 400 head of cattle officials said were illegally grazing in the Nevada desert. The cattle were abruptly released Saturday after protesters, some on horseback and some with guns, lined up along the Nevada-Arizona border to back the rancher.
“This represents a huge victory in the fight against unbridled government,” Sheet said. “American cowboys drew their line in the sand…In the battle of cowboys and bureaucrats, the cowboys won.”
AUDIO of Sheets’ speech, 5:51
Federal officials say rancher Cliven Bundy has failed to pay more than one-million dollars in fees for letting his cattle graze on public land since 1993. Bundy counters that he owes only 300-thousand dollars and he wants to pay it to his county or state rather than the federal government, plus Bundy argues his ancestors began running livestock on that land in the 1880s, before the U.S. Bureau of Land Management was formed, so the agency shouldn’t have jurisdiction in the area.