REPUBLICAN

Seat previously held by Dave Bonner.

 

Billy A. Greaham

The Powell resident did not respond to the Star-Tribune's questionnaire.

 

Dave Blevins

Home: Powell.

Occupation: Insurance sales and service.

Family: Married, 2 adult children.

Political Experience: Park County School District 1 Board of Trustees, 8 years.

1. What is the most important issue currently facing the Wyoming Legislature and how would you address it?

Preserving and prudent use of our natural resources, including our people, is the Legislature's primary job. For example, the people of Wyoming own our water (it cannot be sold). The Compacts among our "headwater" states regulating water must be protected and upheld. The primary benefit of water in Wyoming's history is to support agriculture. Trickle down of the agriculture use of water supports municipal, recreation, industrial, power generation and domestic uses. The value of Wyoming's agricultural sector is over $1 billion dollars; the value of the agriculture to the other components of our economy cannot be overstated. We cannot subordinate agriculture use of water to demands of others, especially from beyond our borders. We must be equally vigilant with all our mineral resources.

2. What further steps need to be taken to ensure Wyoming's significant investment in K-12 education is leading to the best student performance possible?

Educators should continue to develop rigorous standards and curriculum and teacher supports. Research has shown, overemphasis on standardized tests leads to narrow, unimaginative curriculum that is not in the best interests of our kids. We should work to align our testing with critical thinking skills we know that students need. We should prepare and develop high quality teachers. We should listen to teachers and give them autonomy and resources. Our goal should be to invest in teacher education and promote professional development created and delivered by teachers. Our schools need to introduce and encourage project based learning as a method to teach teamwork and problem solving while learning multiple subjects and how they fit together. Test scores are only a snapshot as to what is happening in the classroom. Good teachers should make assessments on a continuing basis and work with administrators to customize lesson plans to meet student needs.

3. Which options should be considered to increase funding for highway repairs and construction?

Our highway system is an important connectivity piece for Wyoming. Current considerations to increase revenue by the Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Interim Committee and the Joint Revenue Interim Committee include introducing a toll system on some roads, increasing fuel taxes, imposing a ton-mile tax and implementation of an optional one cent sales tax. Road use crosses every demographic profile. Funding will need to incorporate these sources as well as from other non-traditional ones.

4. Describe measures you would introduce or support to enhance economic development and diversity in Wyoming.

Revitalization of our current infrastructure is paramount. Continue to up-grade our schools, maintain our roads and support air transportation within the State. Promote our prekindergarten through postsecondary education programs as a continuum of lifelong learning for all. Prepare and develop high quality teachers, and support programs like WWAMI medical education to bring physicians back to our state. Promote electronic connectivity and telecommunications. Support programs that foster our wildlife that attract tourists and year-round recreational use of Wyoming's National Parks. Promote new exploration and production of Wyoming's natural resources and seek expansion of markets. Support economic investment in Wyoming communities. Develop preventive health care tailored to meet the needs of our diverse population.

It is the sum of the whole of our State that attracts new investment, businesses and people. Do many of the things we are a doing now without adding programs.

5. What does Wyoming need to do with the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion?

Quite simply, we should have the autonomy to fix what is wrong with the Affordable Care Act as it relates to our state. If we cannot, the State of Wyoming should pass on the optional expansion of Medicaid and pursue solutions that address the immediate challenge of reducing existing Medicaid cost without adding future liabilities. Medicaid, the joint state-federal program that offers health care for lower-income and disabled people, is consuming a greater share of Wyoming's budget and we cannot ignore the rising costs of Medicaid. Medicaid growth is unsustainable and could threaten our state budget. If we were to consider accepting the Medicaid expansion we must insist in tailoring the guidelines to fit our rural state's medical needs of more primary health care.

 

David Kellett

Age: 43.

Home: Powell.

Occupation: Self-employed.

Education: A.A.S.

Family: Married, 8 children.

Political Experience: Tea Party, Republican Party County Convention delegate, Republican Party State Convention delegate.

1. What is the most important issue currently facing the Wyoming Legislature and how would you address it?

Obamacare is the biggest threat to Wyoming, our Sovereignty and our liberties. Wyoming's legislature already passed an amendment to the Wyoming Constitution in 2010 that will be on the ballot this year which will stop the implementation of Obamacare in this State. I will support applicable legislation that will continue to protect us from Obamacare and the Federal Government.

2. What further steps need to be taken to ensure Wyoming's significant investment in K-12 education is leading to the best student performance possible?

The best step is to allow a voucher program. This will save the State money, allow parents to choose the school or program that is best suited to their child's needs and force the schools to compete not only via test scores but by best environment for growth.

3. Which options should be considered to increase funding for highway repairs and construction?

The best option is in eliminating needless and duplicate programs from the State and Federal level as well as eliminating unnecessary positions within the State government.

4. Describe measures you would introduce or support to enhance economic development and diversity in Wyoming.

Personally I will work to eliminate property taxes, which only serve to inform business owners and Citizens that they do not own the land they have purchase and built up, this will create a climate more favorable for business and for employees looking to move to Wyoming as well as allow current owners of property to keep their property without worrying about the State. I will also work to decrease taxes on businesses so that they can plan more for the future, for expansion and hiring more workers which will increase the tax revenue coming into Wyoming via sales taxes.

5. What does Wyoming need to do with the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion?

Since the Federal Government has eliminated $500 Billion in Medicaid funding to make Obamacare look like it would save us money, which will place more of the burden of Medicaid onto Wyoming Citizens, I believe we should eliminate the Federal Program and create a State program to replace it, which will make it more affordable, answer the needs of Wyoming's Citizens, and through a true Insurance Exchange that allows all possible insurance agencies to market their products here in the State of Wyoming, we will decrease the burden on everyone and be an example to all of the States.

 

Steve Walker

Age: 41.

Home: Powell (originally Idaho Falls, Idaho).

Occupation: Director of International Studies & Assistant Professor of Political Science, Northwest College.

Education: Ph.D, Political Science and Public Policy Analysis, West Virginia University; M.A., Political Science, West Virginia University; M.A., History, Portland State University; B.A., History, University of Maryland University College; A.A., Information Systems, Community College of the Air Force; A.A., Liberal Arts, Pierce College.

Family: Married, 3 children.

Political Experience: Advisor for Foreign Policy (Globalization and Global Economics), Policy Planning Division, Incheon Metropolitan City, Republic of Korea (2009-10). Population of Incheon: 2.75 million.

1. What is the most important issue currently facing the Wyoming Legislature and how would you address it?

The most important issue facing the Wyoming Legislature today is how to grow the Wyoming economy for the future. In the short term, this means plugging the Wyoming economy into the global economy. Governor Matt Mead and the legislature are already trying to do this to some extent. We need to spend more time and energy working on this. My background in global economics, both scholarly and practical, gives me a unique perspective in this race on these issues. In the longer term, education is the key. We need to increase the quality of education in this state, so that we can unlock the potential of Wyomingites. As it is now, we often educate our young people just to see them leave for other states. We need to encourage young entrepreneurs to stay in Wyoming and build the economy of tomorrow here.

2. What further steps need to be taken to ensure Wyoming's significant investment in K-12 education is leading to the best student performance possible?

Wyoming spends a lot of money on education, but sometimes our outcomes fail to recognize this investment. Some people blame teachers or administrators. I have worked with both teachers and administrators through the Wyoming Education Association, and I can tell you by-and-large these are dedicated professionals trying to get the most out of their students. However, school is a relatively small part of a child's day. Teachers and administrators have little or no control over what happens once that student leaves the school grounds. Parents, and the children themselves, are the missing links in the equation. The legislature needs to encourage a culture of learning in Wyoming, and I don't think we have done that. CEOs get cash bonuses when their companies do well; I think the state could give cash bonuses to students and parents when the child does well. The proper assessment tool would be vital, however.

3. Which options should be considered to increase funding for highway repairs and construction?

Infrastructure is a key component to economic health for Wyoming. According to a 2011 WYDOT study, 82% of Wyoming roads will be in poor condition by 2030 without increased funding. In the short term, highway repairs and construction shortfalls should come out of the Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund. Long-term, we need to be looking at how to grow the economy to provide the tax revenue we need without raising taxes on individuals or businesses. This is going to require new ways of thinking about the economy, how we plug into the global economy, and the role of education in developing the jobs, entrepreneurs, and business leaders of tomorrow. We simply must stop exporting to other states our most talented and educated young people. If we are going to pay for things like highways, economic development and growth is essential.

4. Describe measures you would introduce or support to enhance economic development and diversity in Wyoming.

We must integrate Wyoming's economy more tightly into the global economy. Economic growth rates in Asia have outstripped American rates over the past decade. That is where we need to look to expand Wyoming's markets. My experience in advising government on the issue of global economics gives me an advantage over my opponents. Asia wants our products, including coal and beef, but we sometimes run into problems getting them to these markets. Koreans, for example, favor Wyoming beef but because of the length of time in transportation of the frozen beef, the Koreans view it as low quality by the time it reaches Korea. One way to get around this is to process the beef here, and ship it to Korea as a prepared food. The point of this example is that we need to start thinking about innovative ways to get our products to the markets that demand them.

5. What does Wyoming need to do with the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion?

For the first two years the federal government will pick up the tab for the cost of expansion, so we have time to study it and figure out what we are going to do. After those two years, the state is expected to pick up 10% of the cost of that expansion. That expansion would mean 30,000 more people on Medicaid in Wyoming. I suggest that we prepare to fund it by diverting less money to Wyoming's "rainy day" fund which now has over $1 billion. Socking away so much money, instead of investing it in the health and improvement of Wyoming, only increases the chances of having a "rainy day" down the road. I am not proposing that we tap or stop contributing to the rainy day fund; I am suggesting that we divert some of our surplus funds to investments in health and economic growth.

 

 

DEMOCRAT

No one filed for the seat.

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