A Rock Springs man who works in the energy industry has entered the race for U.S. House — the first Democrat who lives in Wyoming to seek the office.
Ryan Greene, 33, is a political newcomer who describes himself as a news buff, political junkie and voter.
The other Democrat in the race for Wyoming’s lone House seat has quit his campaign. Richard Grayson, 64, lives outside the state. He had been running to motivate Wyoming Democrats to step up.
Greene was not available to talk to the Casper Star-Tribune on Wednesday, despite efforts by the newspaper to reach him by phone.
His campaign manager sent a statement attributed to him.
“This isn’t the first time the bubble burst here in Wyoming,” the statement said, referring to the energy downturn. “So why weren’t our officials ready? There was a plan for the boom but not for the bust.”
Greene believes Wyoming needs a representative ready to put forth realistic solutions.
The Rock Springs native is a pipe welder who began working at the family business as a teenager — checking hoses and cleaning tools when it was a small operation working in the Jonah Field. Since then, the company has grown. He is now the operations director at Greene’s Energy Services, which works in oil, natural gas, coal, trona, fertilizers and renewable energy.
“Our company does business with Wyoming’s natural gas, coal, trona, wind and solar sectors — so why doesn’t Wyoming back all of them?” the statement said. “They all create jobs, and we need a representative that will support all of them — with actions, not just words. As Wyoming’s voice in the U.S. House of Representatives, I will strongly and consistently back proposals that promote developing all of Wyoming’s resources putting people back to work.”
Greene is married to Lindsey Greene, a teacher in Rock Springs. They have two children.
There are 11 candidates running for U.S. House — an open seat after Republican U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis announced she is not seeking re-election.
Republican candidates include Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, state Rep. Tim Stubson, state Sen. Leland Christensen. Also joining the GOP field are Darek Farmer of Guernsey, Mike Konsmo of Powell, Paul Paad of Casper, Rex Rammell of Gillette, Jason Senteney of Yoder and Charlie Tyrrel of Casper.
John Meena of Buford is running as an independent.
Greene’s entry into the race marks the exit of Richard Grayson, a Democrat who splits his time between Brooklyn, New York, and the Phoenix area. He promised that once a Democrat from Wyoming entered the race, he’d drop out. He’s living up to that campaign promise.
“Yes, I said I’d drop out once there was another Democratic candidate, and I’m keeping my word,” he said.
Grayson is now running for U.S. House in Idaho’s second Congressional district, which runs along Wyoming’s western border. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson has no Democratic challenger in that race.
“Once someone files in (the second district) as a Democrat, I quit there, and I’ll go to (the first district) 1 or another state where there’s no Democrat running for Congress and file there... all the way to Louisiana’s deadline in July — unless the Long Island Psychic can assure me Democrats will be running everywhere,” he said in an email, referring to psychic Theresa Caputo’s upcoming visit to Casper.
More members of Wyoming’s minority party could enter the race.
“I’ve heard from a couple other people who have expressed interest who we’re following up with,” said Aimee Van Cleave, executive director for the Wyoming Democratic Party. “I don’t think Ryan is the last Democrat who is going to announce.”
Follow political reporter Laura Hancock on Twitter @laurahancock.