Term: Two years, no term limits
Who can vote: Only voters living within each district. Call the Albany County Clerk at 307-721-2541 or look up online at http://www.co.albany.wy.us under “polling place maps” for your district.
Salary: $150 per day of work
Benefits: Travel reimbursements
Others serving: Five of 60 Wyoming House members represent all or part of Albany County. House District 47 includes the Rock River area of Albany County, all of Carbon County and a portion of Sweetwater County; all their terms expire this year.
What are your qualifications for office: Include two specific reasons that motivate you to run.
Cathy Connolly (D-HD 13): While living and working in Laramie for over 20 years, I have served on several boards including the SAFE Project, the Laramie High School citizen advisory board, and the Whiting High School parent advisory council. I am a UW professor, proud of our university. I have been honored to serve in the legislature for the past four terms advocating for the people of Albany County. I listen to constituents and have a proven record of success. In the legislature, I have experience working on hard issues with colleagues across the aisle for policies that will improve our lives and livelihoods.
Joey Correnti IV (R-HD 13): With nearly 20 years of military service I have developed an extremely effective sense of leadership and have seen firsthand how the political decisions of our Representative’s effect our economy, our energy resources, and the people’s individual liberty, I was trained to defend those who cannot defend themselves, and I plan to bring these skills and this passion with me to Cheyenne and the Legislative floor. I decided to run for office because I have recently been medically retired from the military but still have a strong desire to serve the people and defend our collective and individual freedom.
Dan Furphy (R-HD 14): I served on Laramie City Council and familiar with City issues and served as Trustee on Ivinson Memorial Hospital Board and acquainted with health care issues. I have worked as CEO of a multi-state banking organization with tight budgets and managing people as well as CEO of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance to attract new business to Wyoming in order to diversify our economy and create many jobs. Our state requires strong financial leadership. My financial experience, leadership and the knowledge I have gained in my many years of civic and political service will provide the strength and experience needed.
Erin C. O’Doherty (D-HD 14): I have lived in House District 14 for 25 years and know many of the district’s families. While my children attended Indian Paintbrush Elementary I served as PTA officer, Book-Fair Chairperson, and general volunteer. I am running to ensure other families have access to the high quality public education that my children received. I was compelled to run because recent budget priorities have negatively impacted Wyoming and its people. My training in science, which relies on critical thinking and the acceptance of new information, will help me make rational decisions needed to protect the people of Wyoming.
Charles F. Pelkey (D-HD 45): My qualifications for office are the same as anyone running for office in this state, namely a desire to serve the state to the best of my ability. I have served one term in the Wyoming House and hope to continue the work I started. These are tight economic times and we do need to keep our state budget within tight limits, but that requires a thoughtful approach to cutting budgets and avoiding reductions that may well cost us more in the future. Across-the-board cuts and reductions to essential services can cost more in the long-run than they save.
Tom Schmit (R-HD 45): Since 2004, I have made many trips to Cheyenne to monitor the actions of the legislature and have testified on many issues at committee meetings, which would include Parental Rights, Property Rights, opposing tax increases, insuring due process, trespass issues, working to keep the state within its Constitutional limitations. I am pretty familiar with the legislative process, timing of bills and am known in the legislature for my committee meeting appearances in Cheyenne. One reason I'm running is to keep the various governments and their branches within their correct spheres of authority. Another reason I'm running is to expand the economy of Wyoming.
Ken Chestek (D-HD 46): I am a professor at the University of Wyoming College of Law, teaching courses in legal analysis and interpretation. For this reason I am particularly qualified to help write legislation. I am running because I believe we need creative solutions to the problems facing our state. For years we have followed the same policies which lead inevitably to the boom-or-bust cycle. I am not an ideologue; instead, I want to seek evidence-based solutions to the state’s problems. My legal training helps me ask pertinent questions and consider all sides of an issue before deciding what I think is best.
Bill Haley (R-HD 46): I have lived in Albany County since 1978 and throughout my career as a Game Warden in Albany County, my wife and I have raised 3 children here in public schools, owned small businesses together and know what it takes to make a living in Wyoming. I employ common sense solutions and people know that I am honest and they can trust me. I have been interested in the legislature for several years, and now that I am retired, I have the time necessary to devote to this job. I have Wyoming core values. I don’t have an “agenda”.
Ken Casner (D-HD 47): I don’t know about you, I for one was disgusted with this year’s legislative session. In turn I decided to run for House District 47, as a Democrat. I’m no stranger to politics for my beginning was in 2002, since then I have been within both parties and an independent in trying to truly represent the people of Wyoming. President Kennedy said in his own election one phrase “we can do better”. For it was evident to me, the majority of legislators chose not to listen to Wyoming, or her people?
Julie McCallister (R-HD 47): I have Bachelors in Political Science, and a Masters in Public Administration from UW. I also spent almost 7 years working in the Oil and Gas industry, and almost completed a second Bachelors in Chemical Engineering. I have spent my entire life solving problems after things have fallen apart, it’s time to be proactive, solve problems prior to them occurring. I am motivated to run because I know that Wyoming as a whole can do a better job in the legislature. My education, experience, and sheer drive qualify me to find the best possible solution to each and every issue.
What are your plans for assuring necessary and affordable health care coverage for all people living in Wyoming?
Cathy Connolly (D-HD 13): I will continue to advocate for health care reforms that place the patient at the center of our state policies. I am a strong supporter of Medicaid expansion, a proposal that will extend medical services to over 20,000 Wyomingites with a direct savings of over $30 million to the Department of Health, and with $200 million in additional federal funding for increased healthcare provisions around the state. The failure of the legislature to adopt this federal program means that our citizens are going without necessary and life-saving screenings and care, and that our community hospitals are under tremendous financial strain.
Joey Correnti IV (R-HD 13): I firmly believe that the establishment of an “Individual Health Care Savings Account” program is the long term answer to the entire health care issue. In the short term, the State Legislature needs to stay strong and continue to reject Medicaid expansion, as a fundamental posture in repealing the Affordable Care Act, in order to return the insurance and health care industries back to the private sector where it belongs. Immediately, we should protect our citizens from being penalized by the government for not having insurance since most who don’t can’t afford the “affordable care” let alone an additional fine.
Dan Furphy (R-HD 14): I support Medicaid Expansion and having Wyoming Federal Tax dollars come back to our state to help with medical care rather than going to some other state. Having served as trustee at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, I understand the importance of these funds to help support the hospitals. I am concerned for the small hospitals across our state surviving if we don’t support them with help to take care of those patients that do not have coverage. There is currently only one company offering coverage under the ACA in our state and accordingly, we should pursue competition to keep costs down.
Erin C. O’Doherty (D-HD 14): I am passionate about creating better alternatives for health insurance and care in Wyoming. If passed, Medicaid expansion would provide access to vital services for about 17,000 people, and more federal money would flow into and circulate within Wyoming. The spending would reduce the need for hospital layoffs and lessen the burden of uncompensated care. I would explore options to increase the number of healthcare providers in the state, such as restoring student loan forgiveness for those practicing in Wyoming or allowing pharmacists to provide more services. Increased health insurance options could help entrepreneurs succeed in new business ventures.
Charles F. Pelkey (D-HD 45): Two words: Medicaid Expansion. The Legislature has turned down an average of $133 million in Federal funds for each of the past three years. As far as I can tell, it’s to make the point that the Legislature doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act. Scoring political points should not be a priority when the people of this state are losing access to essential services and seeing layoffs and closures at local hospitals. Governor Mead, who opposed the ACA and Medicaid Expansion, has said that continuing to reject those funds is fiscally irresponsible and a disservice to the people of Wyoming.
Tom Schmit (R-HD 45): I believe the Affordable Care Act was supposed to make it possible for all people to have affordable health care coverage, so I don't know why there are people in Wyoming who do not have coverage. I can only conclude that the Affordable Care Act was misrepresented from something different than it really is. I doubt if anyone could come up with a plan that would give coverage for all people in Wyoming, as health care coverage is a very individual choice and decision. I have heard many pro's and con's of Medicaid Expansion…I would like to hear from people who cannot obtain coverage.
Ken Chestek (D-HD 46): Wyoming must expand Medicaid. It is not only fiscally responsible, it is the morally right thing to do. The Medicaid expansion program is designed to provide assistance to families whose income is too high to qualify for traditional Medicaid, but whose employers do not provide health care benefits and whose income is too low to afford traditional health insurance. Medicaid expansion will help these hard-working families afford health insurance, and provide additional funding to the many small, rural health care centers throughout Wyoming which are struggling. Let’s bring our tax dollars back from Washington to help Wyoming residents.
Bill Haley (R-HD 46): I feel that the legislature should be able to reach a compromise on Medicaid or an alternative plan to accommodate those who truly need assistance in our state. We are leaving a lot of our Federal tax dollars on the table. We should be able to adopt the federal plan, or develop our own plan to fit the unique circumstances in our state. Personally, I would like to include an employment or jobs training requirement for those people who are able to work while receiving benefits.
Ken Casner (D-HD 47): Legislation without choices was provided this year by the current majority Republican Party, for without coalition there remains only special interest within Wyoming legislation and no regards for Wyoming people. We deserve better and can do better for our working families, the poor, elderly, and young in providing positive legislation towards their futures, by allowing their voices heard within our Legislative representation. I truly believe people know the answers on health care, in providing affordable health care.
Julie McCallister (R-HD 47): This is a complicated issue. I have a number of bills to propose to legislature to ensure better coverage for our citizens than Medicaid Expansion. This includes but is not limited to: Reallocation of spending in the health market’s, proposing financially responsible state coverage for needs in hospitals and clinic, and state regulations on insurance companies for greater clarity/cost cutting measure to providers themselves. This issue will not be solved by a “magic bullet” instead is needs a multifaceted approach, to ensure better coverage for all. In doing so my approach will also expand and improve rural healthcare.
What approach would you take to make sure that Wyoming still has opportunities to diversify income streams and recruit new businesses?
Cathy Connolly (D-HD 13): Wyoming is facing a "bust" that must be addressed through careful attention to both our savings and spending policies. It has begun to "rain” and we in the legislature need to respond. We need to continue investment in our people through high quality education, needed services, and support to community infrastructure. We need to recruit industries with high-paying jobs through promoting 21st century economic and social policies that create jobs, provide job training, close the wage gap between men and women, and treat all individuals fairly in the workplace; all of which are efforts proven to effectively increase economic well-being.
Joey Correnti IV (R-HD 13): Taking note of the decisions that other state’s legislatures make to ban certain types of production provides Wyoming with a great opportunity to bring these American made products to the cowboy state as has recently proven with Wyoming’s recent acquisition of ammunition and small arms accessories businesses from Colorado. Additionally, I believe certain tax credits for startups and businesses relocating to Wyoming would be appropriate to support economic growth. Retention of our college graduates is also key, as it is our tax dollars that fund our educational institutions and we should be working to retain the product of our investment.
Dan Furphy (R-HD 14): As CEO of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, I had to compete with all other cities across the USA to attract business. We were successful in doing so. I understand those programs that are effective for business recruitment and expansion as well as those that should be eliminated. I am supportive of the University of Wyoming and continuing to fund research that can result in new businesses and jobs. I have worked closely with the Wyoming Business Council and understand the programs that should be funded to continue to diversify our economy; also the Wyoming Technology Business Center is effective.
Erin C. O’Doherty (D-HD 14): Mineral resource extraction has served many generations in Wyoming; however, extracted minerals are unavailable to subsequent generations. Wyomingites are suffering because of the cyclical nature of this industry. We need to utilize sustainable resources to provide stable employment. Our greatest resources are renewable: resourcefulness, knowledge, scenery, wind, sunshine, and railroads. I would promote using these resources to help agriculture, tourism, outdoor recreation, and technology. Rather than competing with other communities to attract companies, we should promote and retain our home-grown businesses; the UW business incubator is a good first step. Better infrastructure, particularly internet connectivity, would aid this effort.
Charles F. Pelkey (D-HD 45): We need to take a cautious approach to cutting services and programs and protect our state’s investments in education and infrastructure. State revenue has long been dependent on a single source: the mineral industry. When layoffs in those industries occur, we must be able to encourage workers to take advantage of retraining and educational opportunities in order to develop their talents and expand business opportunities. Small businesses with educated and employees trained in the skills of the 21st Century will help Wyoming weather the economic storms ahead. This is not the time to cut holes in our “safety net.”
Tom Schmit (R-HD 45): Due to its abundance of raw materials, Wyoming has a huge opportunity to diversify its economy and create thousands of well paying jobs and profitable industries by processing and refining its raw materials, rather than just shipping them out of state. A ton of coal, leaving Wyoming is worth 11 dollars. If the coal is turned into electricity, it is worth 75 to 200 dollars, depending on the customer. Other raw materials such as natural gas, oil and trona also have a large potential to boost the Wyoming economy if more of these resources were processed here. There are a (100 words) lot of good efforts being made to recruit businesses here, but some cities and counties make it difficult for businesses to move here due to burdensome zoning regulations…
Ken Chestek (D-HD 46): To break out of the continual (and predictable) boom-and-bust cycle we must diversify Wyoming’s economy. The state has put significant sums of money into trust and “rainy day” funds; let’s use some of that money to encourage economic development. Perhaps some of it can be spent on infrastructure improvements like power lines to take locally-generated wind and solar energy to market. Or more can be spent to encourage research into green energy at UW. Or to encourage high-tech companies to locate here. UW can become a driver for economic growth around the state if we fund it intelligently.
Bill Haley (R-HD 46): We should encourage new ways to utilize our natural resources while promoting clean air technologies for fossil fuels. We should invest in green energy and jobs training for the future. Our state should continue to recruit new businesses into Wyoming emphasizing our tax structure, UW and the community colleges, safe family environment and quality of life. As a state, we should promote our two very important industries of tourism and agriculture. I would be an advocate to expand the Hathaway Program to include trade and technical schools which would generate good jobs and keep our young people in the state.
Ken Casner (D-HD 47): The time has come for Wyoming, to invest upon her future and rely upon the determination of true representation for optimistically seeking solutions for the majority of Wyoming people. I believe people cannot afford to rely upon special interest, associations, or the wish of outside Corporations, in such representation, for Wyoming is then ruled by economic concession and special interest. I will prepare myself for diversification in Wyoming’s future based on the actions of discussions, listening, and compromise by visiting with people within H.D. 47, then taking these ideas forward on diversity to the Wyoming legislative house.
Julie McCallister (R-HD 47): Long and short term legislation will encourage compatible businesses to join in Wyoming’s economy, providing jobs for our citizens. It is incredibly important for the legislature to be very receptive to all of our current businesses, especially our small businesses in the state. Decisions made in legislature have an overwhelming affect on business, especially small businesses, so their interest must be kept in mind. The legislature needs to take the time, and do the work of being receptive, and listening to the business owners, as well as the citizens who will be affected by every decision, prior to making it.
Not responding: No response was received from Jerry Paxton (R-HD 47).