A Platform of Opportunity
Ending the boom-and-bust cycle is within our grasp as a state if our leaders will step up and make the tough decisions—but it’s just the beginning. I want to lead Wyoming into a brighter future, one we can be proud to hand down to our children and grandchildren. We can restore and preserve the best of what we love about Wyoming, while making the most of all the opportunities available to us. The key is strong leadership that offers real solutions to Wyoming’s issues. These are the solutions I stand by, and my vision for a better Wyoming.
Wyoming’s healthcare system is broken. We have only one insurer on our exchange, and some of the highest premiums in the country. Without access to affordable healthcare, businesses cannot thrive in Wyoming and will be reluctant to locate here. By refusing to expand Medicaid, Wyoming lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars in federal healthcare money from 2012 to 2018.
With one simple bill, we could help 20,000 people get access to quality healthcare, with 90% of costs paid for by the federal government. Moreover, Medicaid expansion would help everyone in Wyoming by stabilizing rural hospitals and reducing cost shifting to those with insurance. There has been no “Wyoming solution” proposed that would be as effective or as affordable as Medicaid expansion.
Aside from Medicaid, there are other ways to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to Wyomingites. Telehealth is currently being used to connect patients statewide to health providers and specialists, but it has room to grow. It allows patients to get timely care—without traveling great distances—and has proven especially effective in providing timely access to mental health care. I also advocate for transparency regarding healthcare costs. If there’s a more affordable alternative to a treatment you need, you should have access to that information.
revitalize the energy sector
When I was born in Campbell County, its population was 6,000 people. Today the population is 46,000, as a direct result of the opportunities created by our energy sector. I know firsthand that coal, oil, and natural gas have been kind to our state.
Our next governor needs to protect and grow our energy economy in the face of changing energy markets. That means fighting against federal overreach and creating regulatory certainty in Wyoming, but it also means fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, including investments in renewables. I’ve spent decades working as an energy attorney and I can say without hesitation that no candidate in the race has as much experience in the energy sector as I do.
I helped develop Wyoming’s landmark carbon capture and sequestration legislation, and supported funding the Integrated Testing Facility in Gillette. As governor, I would further efforts to advance the development of value-added use of our minerals and work to locate a pilot carbon capture project in Wyoming.
Within the energy sector, there are ways to increase revenue by focusing on the creation of value-added products. Coal isn’t just for burning. It can be used to create air and water filters, carbon fibers, and other emerging carbon technologies. Natural gas can be turned into fertilizer. I’ve long supported investments into research to develop the next wave of value-added products.
My energy expertise would be instrumental in securing the best possible outcomes for this sector, and for public-private partnerships in Wyoming.
Expand our economy
To stabilize the economy, Wyoming also needs to expand beyond boom and bust industries. By attracting new businesses and supporting entrepreneurs—in agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, technology, and any small business—we can create good, high paying jobs so our kids don’t have to leave the state to find work. But this alone won’t break the cycle.
We absolutely must broaden our tax base in order to grow sustainably. Otherwise our state’s funding deficits for education and infrastructure will worsen as we grow and diversify. Currently, 70% percent of Wyoming’s tax revenue comes from the energy sector. Going forward we cannot expect one sector to pay all our bills. It’s not fair and it is not sustainable. We cannot have a prosperous future as a state if we do not have the political courage to change this imbalance.
As market forces drive revenue into new energy sources, Wyoming’s economy is suffering. It only gets worse when our state revenues are nearly entirely linked to that one sector of the economy. By broadening our tax base, we can ensure that we are still able to meet our obligations for a high quality education and infrastructure, even during energy downturns.
support our education system
Wyoming public schools are the bedrock of our state’s economy. Over the past decade, our school system has grown into a regional powerhouse; by some measures we are ranked 7th in the nation. But the cuts in the most recent legislative budget have made it harder and harder for our schools to compete—when we have a constitutional obligation to fund our education system. Some legislators want to dismantle public education in Wyoming, which I will fight to protect.
Our education system from Pre-K to post-secondary is key to ending the boom-and-bust cycle. A strong public education system is needed to attract business and young families to our state, and to train the next generation of workers. The University of Wyoming and our network of Community Colleges must remain strong to develop the workforce we so desperately need in Wyoming. We must also increase opportunities for career and technical training.
Keep Wyoming Wild
Our public lands must remain in public hands. Protecting Wyoming's public lands are our heritage, and we must fight to protect them. Outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing, agriculture—and energy—all depend on our public lands. As governor, I will advocate balancing the interests of all our users of public lands so that Wyoming will stay wild for generations to come.
Wyoming has a long successful history of protecting its interests in the use of our public lands. We know that it takes leadership at the state, local, and community level to ensure the federal government listens to Wyoming. As a legislator, I supported efforts to make sure our local governments and community stakeholders have a seat at the table to plan for management of the lands in our counties. I will continue to work to make sure local governments have access to the resources and expertise from the state to participate in land management decisions.
Invest in new Opportunities for Our Communities
New technologies have the potential to create huge opportunities for even the smallest community in Wyoming. If we respond quickly, we’ll find ourselves at the forefront of emerging markets, such as blockchain technology. I support the efforts to expand broadband internet access to rural areas, which will give residents access to new job opportunities. Wyoming is a beautiful place to live, but if your home or business can’t get high speed internet, that’s a barrier to folks considering where to place their business.
Our communities across Wyoming, small, medium and large, are the heart and soul of our state. Yet, the state underfunds them and makes their leaders beg for money. Cheyenne needs to neighbor with local leaders to identify stable, predictable sources of revenues so our cities, towns and counties can provide not just basic services, but build strong communities that will keep our young people in Wyoming and attract business to the state.