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1. Why are you a candidate for Senate District 08 and what qualifications make you the best choice for this office? (250 words)

As a mother of young children and a small business owner, I don’t see that voice strongly represented in the Wyoming Legislature.  I am running to build a better Wyoming for my kids and those families who have made Wyoming their home. The Legislature needs energetic leaders to make that happen. 

Everyone in my district worries.  Whether it is a senior or a young family or a single worker, they are worried about how to best get by, how to make a living, or how to live in retirement on a fixed income.  They are worried about the kind of world their children and grandchildren will inherit and whether someday those kids will be prepared to lead and defend our country.  I get it.  I understand. 

I believe that government leaders should make decisions about Wyoming’s budget that reflect how families manage their finances.  If someone in a family loses a job, they cut back on spending and rely on savings before asking others to pay the bills.  Wyoming should do the same.

Now, more than ever, Wyoming’s path forward requires thinking, common sense and intelligence. We need people who will take action and find solutions – not someone who will fade into the background or whisper their concerns. Good judgment is rare.  I have it.  And I will use good judgment on every issue and every vote.  No one will work harder to for people – for all people – than me.

2.What are the top three issues the state faces and how do you propose to address each? (650 words)

The Budget

Wyoming should cut costs and supplement its budget with Rainy Day funds before imposing new taxes on Wyoming citizens and industries.  Cutting costs and judicially spending savings will require good judgment.  I have it.

In 2011, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell selected me to serve on a national commission charged with writing a report to Congress and the President on how to address high crimes in Native America.  Our commission developed a 300-page report containing more than 40 unanimous, bipartisan recommendations.  We identified several areas where the federal government could operate more efficiently.  The key to developing such a comprehensive report involved being committed to working in a bipartisan manner and by listening to people first.

Wyoming faces tremendous challenges.  We are asking Wyoming’s agencies to do more with less.  I will use my experience and judgment to make firm, but fair decisions about how Wyoming should accomplish this task.

The Economy

I will defend our economy by supporting opportunities to expand domestic and international markets for our natural resources and fighting against unjust federal regulation. 

Having defended Wyoming as an Assistant Attorney General in the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, I saw first hand how special interests groups have developed an advocacy industry aimed at ending energy development and agricultural use on our public lands.

Wyoming is a leader among public land states in engaging in environmental processes, and in defending or challenging actions in federal district court that affect federal lands located within our State.  We need to keep fighting and to look for other opportunities to expand our advocacy.  For example, I have been working on an effort to engage Wyoming citizens to support environmental studies that will allow for the expansion of coal ports in the Pacific Northwest. 

Further, Wyoming needs leaders who have a global perspective.  In 2011, I traveled to Brazil with the American Council of Young Political Leaders, a program started in the 1960s through the U.S. State Department to send young leaders to strategic locations, such as the Soviet Union, to promote mutual understanding, respect, and friendship and to cultivate long lasting relationships among next generation leaders.  While in Brazil, I shared my knowledge about Wyoming’s work to develop the market for bi-fuel vehicles. Similarly, I will be traveling to China and Taiwan and hope to engage a discussion about Wyoming’s interest in exporting Powder River Basin coal through ports located in the Pacific Northwest.  If elected, I would continue to use my contacts and relationships to support and expand the resources that have made our economy strong.

Education

I will work to guarantee that children receive an education that will prepare them their future.

My parents moved to Jackson in the 1950s from the Navajo reservation.  At the time, there was a national focus for native children to receive a trade education.  My father, the son of a renowned Navajo silversmith, learned welding and eventually opened his own welding shop in Jackson Hole.

Growing up in Wyoming has provided me with countless educational opportunities.  In the mid 1990s, I traveled to Cheyenne to work as a legislative intern through a program established by the League of Women Voters.  I have always valued this experience, which clearly had a strong impact on my career.  Further, I have always valued the opportunity to be the first in my family to go to college on a scholarship provided by the University of Wyoming. 

Wyoming has invested heavily in Wyoming’s education system, by supporting strong teacher salaries and by devoting great attention to how Wyoming’s accountability system should be structured.  Wyoming has also invested in infrastructure.  As a mother of three small children, two who are in elementary school, I am concerned that declining revenue will translate into to cuts in the classroom before administrators seek efficiencies.   In education, I will strongly advocate for policies that put kids first.