Wyoming State Representative Kendell Kroeker has made headlines in recent months because of controversial bills he’s sponsored thwarting federal gun control measures. But the states’ rights advocate and Summit alumnus has also taken bold legislative stands against abortion, and with good reason.
His youngest son, Daniel, has Down Syndrome.
Last session Kroeker introduced a bill that would prohibit abortions once a heartbeat was detectable in an unborn child. Even with a Republican majority, the bill died in a committee vote. “The day that bill died was the hardest day of my session last year,” he said. “When you look at the stats for Down Syndrome kids, an overwhelming majority of them are aborted. All I wanted to do was hold my son, but he was 200 miles away at home.”
Kroeker reluctantly attended Summit in 1991, at his mom’s urging. It didn’t take long for him to realize how special Summit was. Though he became a Christian at an early age, Kroeker said he had spent most of his life as a functional non-Christian. But at Summit he met young men whom he liked and who struck him with their love of God. “On my last night I had a conviction I needed to choose a path: either live as a Christian or abandon Christianity,” he said.
As he entered college the next fall, he prayed God would surround him with godly friends, which is exactly what happened.
After graduation Kroeker spent the next several years working for Campus Crusade for Christ in Chile, working as a businessman in Denver, and starting a family. In 2001 he and his wife moved to Casper, Wyoming, to run a motorcycle dealership. Over time he observed the state creeping further and further into the spheres of private citizens and reached a determination. “I completely believe the federal government has overstepped its bounds,” he said.
In 2009 he decided to run for the Wyoming House of Representatives and was elected in 2010. In 2012 his constituents re-elected him by three votes, and he plans to run for office again in 2014. He credits Summit with “planting a seed” in him more than twenty years ago to run for office because it pushed him to take Christianity seriously. “One big thing for me is noticing in the study of the Old Testament so many figures serving in government, like Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah,” Kroeker said. “Those were all faithful men serving in pagan governments. It just seems like our duty to serve.”
His gun bills — which would have made enforcing federal firearm restriction in his state illegal — garnered much national media attention. He was quoted in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, debated liberal commentator Alan Colmes, and was invited to debate Al Sharpton (though scheduling conflicts precluded him from doing so).
If nothing else, his bold legislation has reignited debate about the proper role of the state in protecting life and regulating the private sphere. But his worldview informs his work: “It was really Summit that inspired that conviction.”