Cheyenne businessman and Republican Sam Galeotos plans to announce Wednesday that he is entering the race for Wyoming governor on a seven-point platform focused on economic growth.
Galeotos, a Wyoming native who built a name for himself in the travel industry before returning to Cheyenne in the early aughts, said that given this year’s field of candidates, he alone was qualified to be governor.
“I’m the only person who will enter the race who has proven skills and experience to tackle the job in front of us,” Galeotos said.
Though a political novice, he cited experience as an executive at companies such as Worldspan Travel and Cheap Tickets, Inc., a business where he served as CEO before its eventual sale to Cendant. At Cendant, a multinational corporation, he went on to oversee a 5,000-employee division.
“Our governor is the chief executive of the state and we need somebody that has the background skills and experience to be the chief executive,” Galeotos said. “I’ve done that locally, nationally and internationally and feel that nobody can match that or those skills.”
Galeotos is currently executive chairman of Cheyenne-based Green House Data. The Star-Tribune was the first to report on Galeotos’ interest in running last December.
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The Republican race for governor is kicking into a higher gear following the conclusion of the legislative session last week, with State Treasurer Mark Gordon recently announcing his entry to the race. Other GOP candidates include Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman and perennial candidate Taylor Haynes.
Former state lawmaker Mary Throne is the only Democratic candidate currently running.
Galeotos said his platform is based on seven priorities:
1. Improve economic growth;
2. implement the government efficiency studies commissioned by the Legislature;
3. achieve better investment returns for the state;
4. maintain a strong education system;
5. improve health care in Wyoming;
6. connect Wyoming to the outside world;
7. empower local communities in the state.
Boosting Wyoming’s economy is a stated goal of nearly every candidate in the race so far, but Galeotos said that he has the real-world experience to make it a reality.
Galeotos said he would seek to improve the state economy by streamlining the permitting process for energy development, continuing to promote Wyoming’s outdoor recreation industry and seeking to create a more inviting climate for manufacturing and high-tech jobs as well as supporting innovation in the agriculture industry.
“I’m a person that likes to leverage your strengths and shore up your weaknesses,” he said.
The businessman was more vague about how to achieve some of his other goals, such as improving health care and education in Wyoming. Galeotos said he favored private market solutions to health care and wanted to recruit more insurance providers to the state market, though did not specify how he would do that.
While unhappy with the Legislature’s decision to cover the state’s $850 million deficit with a combination of cash savings and the shifting of dollars typically sent to reserve accounts, Galeotos did not outline an alternate plan. Instead, he said that growing Wyoming’s economy would help solve the problem.
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Galeotos has been active in various community initiatives in Cheyenne, including developing a new facility for the Boys and Girls Club and serving on the boards of the Wyoming State Travel and Tourism Office, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
He has little background in formal political activities. According to Federal Election Commission records, he has contributed $4,300 to candidates for federal office, all Republicans, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Wyoming U.S. House Rep. Cynthia Lummis.
Galeotos said he would leave it to others to place him on the spectrum of candidates in this year’s race but outlined his political philosophy as a “conservative Republican.”
“I’m a man of faith. I’m pro-life, I’m pro-family and I’m pro-Second Amendment,” Galeotos said. “Those conservative principles have guided me as a young boy growing up here in Cheyenne, Wyoming all the way through my professional career leading global and national companies.”