1) I interned in the Wyoming State Senate's general session in 2001 and the budget session of 2004. I have served in the Wyoming House of Representative for ten years. I have served on the Labor Health and Social Services and Revenue committees between 2007 and 2010. I served on the Appropriations committee 2011 to 2014 and I am currently serving on the Judiciary committee. I am currently the House Minority Floor Whip and I have also served on the Health and Social Services committee for eight years representing Wyoming on the National Conference of State Legislatures. The experience that I have gained will give the voters in Senate District 4 a reliable and strong voice in the Wyoming State Senate.
2) I would have to say the top issue facing Wyoming is the way the leadership has structured the budget. The Governor's cuts for the current biennium are totally unnecessary. The save at all costs mentality has cost the state dearly. There is a time to save and time to prioritize the budget first. It makes no sense to have billions of dollars in savings and cut programs and job while at the same time we still saving and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on construction projects. That is does not include the money being spent on reconstruction of the state capital. The legislature currently hand cuffs the Governor because he is constitutionally require to pass a balanced budget. Since the legislature saves first and prioritized projects ahead of programs and positions, we essentially only give the Governor a small percentage of the total state revenue to work with on the budget. As a policy the legislature taxes the citizen to save their money.
The second most important issue would have to be the legislatures current movement to take over control and management of our federal lands. With our current state of revenue as it is, the likelihood of the state closing off access or selling off federal lands to developers or foreign entities would be disastrous for the citizens of the state of Wyoming. The current leadership in the State Senate has this as one of their priorities. Wyoming has to much to lose in this endeavor and I will fight it with everything I have.
Third would most certainly have to be Medicaid expansion. The failure of the legislature to not pass Medicaid expansion has put further strain on our budget. Most people in the state are affected by this in one way or another. The state has no way to control costs, thus, when you have a small population and a large amount of charity care in our hospitals, the citizens make up the difference. They pay higher premiums, their tax dollars go to other states to help with healthcare cost and part of their state tax dollars are used in the general fund to try and bridge gaps in the system. It really causes the citizens of Wyoming to be triple taxed and get no benefit from that triple tax.