The term is two years with no term limits. Compensation is $105 per day of work during legislative sessions and for interim committee meetings with travel expenses reimbursed; there are no other benefits. Candidates must reside in the House District (HD) they will represent. Voters receive a ballot containing only the candidates from the correct HD, based on residence. Listing starts with lowest numbered district; candidates for the same HD are listed alphabetically one after the other. No response was received from Jerry Paxton (R-HD 47).
What motivates you to run and makes you especially suited for this public office?
Cathy Connolly (D-HD 13): Having lived and worked in Laramie for over 20 years, I have deep respect and love of our community and state. I have served on several local boards including the SAFE Project 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 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): My financial experience, leadership and the knowledge I have gained in my many years of business and political service will provide the strength and experience that are critical to our state. I was elected to the Laramie City Council. I was also elected to two terms as trustee of the Ivinson Memorial Hospital. I was CEO of a multi-state banking organization and know how to successfully run a business. I was recruited to become CEO of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance and attracted several businesses to our community. I know what it takes to help diversify our economy.
Erin C. O’Doherty (D-HD 14): Many votes in the last few legislative sessions seem to ignore the human cost of those decisions. We need more compassion and reason in our decision-making process. I am well educated, especially in science and math, and bring diverse work experience including teaching, laboratory work, field work and data analysis. I have worked for governmental and non-profit agencies, and co-own a consulting business. As a life-long volunteer, I have been an active, vocal part of many groups and often serve in leadership positions. I speak up and pitch in to do the work.
Charles F. Pelkey (D-HD 45): I am running for re-election to continue work I started in my first term, namely the need to protect investments in education and infrastructure while making sensible cuts to spending. We also need to protect public access to what are now public lands. What makes me suited for office? I spent five years as a reporter covering the Legislature for the Casper Star-Tribune before working in the U.S. Senate for Alan Simpson. I later went on to become an attorney. I think I bring a unique combination of experience and broad perspective that helps in the position.
Tom Schmit (R-HD 45): My motive for running for state house is to see Wyoming's economy grow and creating more opportunities for our citizens. I have lived in Laramie, almost 40 years, and have seen good business opportunities missed in Laramie and around the state and would work to bring those potential businesses here. I have been at the legislature frequently and have spoken on many bills at committee meetings over the years and understand the process at the state level. Have also been involved in city and county issues.
Ken Chestek (D-HD 46): Wyoming is in a particularly difficult situation for the next several years as we work our way through the latest “bust” portion of the predictable boom-and-bust cycle. We need creative solutions not only to weather this bust, but also to prevent the next bust. I am a law professor, trained in critical thinking and creative problem solving. I love thinking about and working on public policy, and would like to bring new ideas and possible new solutions to our old and repeating problems. My legal training will make me a particularly effective lawmaker in the legislature.
Bill Haley (R-HD 46): I graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1975, and began my 40 year career in public service. As the Game Warden assigned to Albany County, I was responsible for protecting the wildlife and fisheries resource. My wife and I raised 3 children here and they were educated in the public school system. I have Wyoming values and solve problems using common sense, facts and personal experience. I am retired and have the time to spend on issues. I have no political agenda. I listen and communicate well and have the ability to compromise; qualities that will help me serve.
Ken Casner (D-HD 47): First; this is a Democracy and the last legislative session was telling People not People telling them. Leadership failed at representation that was motivation for running. People want true representation, and that scares hell out of them. The reality is simple: I run on my money, nothing more, why? Then I can truly represent voters, not through donations, special interest, or Political Action Committees. I ask who did you elect and why are they qualified, also what is accomplished by such representation by your choice in last election? I’m common sense, Wyoming 66 yrs, blue collar and for representation. I pledge fidelity, job one.
Under what circumstances would you advocate either for new taxes or use of the state’s Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account (“Rainy Day Fund”)?
Cathy Connolly (D-HD 13): While the sky might not be falling, it is raining. We do a disservice to our people and economy when we fail to invest in community infrastructure, and needed services such as schooling and healthcare. Our rainy day account has grown exorbitantly at the expense of these needed services and investment in our future. We must diversify our economy We must develop a prudent spending policy for savings that is fiscally responsible. Increased taxes for non-essentials and elimination of tax exemptions should be explored, but general tax increases should be avoided until we establish a spending policy for savings.
Joey Correnti IV (R-HD 13): I will never advocate for any new or increased taxes. The Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account is not the State’s; it is the Tax Payer’s! With that distinction in mind, there also has to be some consideration for how much of the fund also belongs to future generations of Wyomingites. Under no circumstances would I advocate the use of monies from the fund to expand government or bail out a failing department, nor would I advocate for any expenditures that favors one individual entity over another (i.e. trying to attract a specific company to Wyoming rather than businesses in general)
Dan Furphy (R-HD 14): There should be no reason to have a personal income tax to support the decreasing revenues. Some use of the Rainy Day Funds may be justified. However, the projections from the CREG indicated increasing declining revenues through 2020 and thus these funds may be needed for many years into the future. They should be used conservatively. The solution to declining revenues is to continue to diversify our economy and I firmly believe that is possible. We need to appropriately fund the University of Wyoming and all of the great research that is occurring regarding better utilization of our energy resources.
Erin C. O’Doherty (D-HD 14): When we can no longer live off our mineral wealth inheritance, it is time to start looking for other revenue. We should take a closer look at sales tax exemptions. For example, when equipment purchases result a reduced need for employees, manufactures should not be exempt from sales tax. Since the LSRA was established to help dampen the extremes of our typical boom and bust cycles in Wyoming, we should use the interest from the account for projects that will stimulate and diversify our economic base. We could start with infrastructure projects and small business incentives.
Charles F. Pelkey (D-HD 45): I am pleased that past lawmakers had the foresight to save for a “rainy day.” Well, it’s raining now and we need to consider using those funds carefully to prevent cuts to needed services and to avoid trimming budgets in ways that will cost us more in the long run. For example, it makes no sense to cut alternative sentencing programs when the Legislature is also thinking of building new prisons. I support tapping into the reserve, but very carefully. We need to take a thoughtful approach to spending and cuts before we use those funds or create new taxes.
Tom Schmit (R-HD 45): I would be opposed to any new taxes or for using the Rainy Day Fund. I would rather see the State tighten up and discipline itself from overspending.,and use this time to examine which programs are really necessary for the State. I believe it would be better for the State to trim its budget, rather than the people of Wyoming being forced to trim theirs by carrying any additional tax burdens by the State.
Ken Chestek (D-HD 46): If we try to solve our current budget crisis only by cutting expenses, we will have to cut education and public services so severely that we will do long-term damage to our state. If we want to grow the Wyoming economy, we will need to show businesses that we have a well-educated work force and good public infrastructure. The current round of cuts threaten both. We need to be smart about targeted revenue increases, including potentially eliminating some tax exemptions, while dipping into the Rainy Day Fund to insure that cuts don’t do permanent damage to public services.
Bill Haley (R-HD 46): As a first year legislator, I will rely on input from my constituents in House District 46 to help define what is important to them and establish priorities and a payment method. The reality is that more lean times lay ahead for Wyoming and the legislature will have to make unpopular decisions which will include decisions on new taxes and the continued use of the rainy day fund. Everyone needs to be part of the solution. Voters’ voices need to be heard and if you choose to send me to Cheyenne, I will benefit from an engaged constituency.
Ken Casner (D-HD 47): Again Representation and taxation go hand in hand so I will not advocate taxes, or use the Rainy Day Account. The simple reality is first voters have to have a reason for such action. Until there is a solution in place or justifiable reason, I will not tell my district to support such actions, for I have no action towards their representation in usage.
Do you support state legislation addressed to aquifer protection and other issues that cross local government boundaries? Explain.
Cathy Connolly (D-HD 13): All waters in Wyoming are "the peoples" and we must protect this valuable resource. Aquifers provide our drinking water and habitat for wildlife. State agencies, such as the DEQ, must work with local cities and counties to develop comprehensive water protection plans. I advocate broadening the legislature's Select Water committee's focus on building projects to include conservation efforts and aquifer protection including land purchase. Protecting our aquifers today benefits not only our current communities but provides clean water for future generations and will avoid the need for expensive water pipelines and the clean-up of contaminated waters in the future.
Joey Correnti IV (R-HD 13): I don’t believe this issue crosses local government boundaries. The state has simply allowed counties and local communities to manage these issues without invoking Article 8 Section 1 of the Wyoming Constitution which states “Water is state property. The water of all natural streams, springs, lakes or other collections of still water, within the boundaries of the state, are hereby declared to be the property of the state.” Therefore, no additional legislation is required. We have a State DEQ that is more than equipped, and already fully funded, to survey what may or may not be impacting the aquifer.
Dan Furphy (R-HD 14): While I agree that aquifer protection is an extremely important issue, the appropriate government entities to address this are the county and city. We should limit regulations coming from the State and Federal government as much as possible and bring the decisions back to local government and allow citizen’s input. HB-85 to define the jurisdiction of the City and County in the region just outside City limits was appropriate but for the State to develop legislation that takes away local decision making is not appropriate. I am in favor of more cooperation between the City, County and our State legislators.
Erin C. O’Doherty (D-HD 14): Our lives depend on clean air and clean water, so protecting those resources must be our highest priority. Water and air do not recognize political boundaries. Healthy ecosystems provide real services to humans and other organisms living downstream or downwind. We should look for ways to purchase unique areas or pay current property owners for conservation easements. Money is tight, but the legislature should consider expanding the scope of the state water development board to protect aquifers while they are still clean. Since all the surface water is over-allocated, it does not make sense to reserve money for dam-building.
Charles F. Pelkey (D-HD 45): Water flows regardless of county borders or municipal boundaries. Protecting water resources – be they surface or underground – should fall within the prevue of the Wyoming Water Development Commission. But before the Legislature or a state agency decides to step in we should encourage a serious level of cooperation between county and municipal governing bodies. It the case of our own precious Casper Aquifer, I remain hopeful that the Laramie City Council and Albany County Commission can manage to work together without the need for intervention by the state.
Tom Schmit (R-HD 45): There is an Aquifer Protection Plan approved by the DEQ in July 2007 and is followed by Laramie/Albany County. Any threat to the aquifer would have to be positively identified so the correct solution would be taken. Any threat should be handled by the property owner or at the lowest level of government possible. State law should only be used under grave circumstances and property rights must be a high consideration in any legislation. The term “other issues' is too vague to address and would have to be specifically identified.
Ken Chestek (D-HD 46): Regulations to insure safe drinking water are already in place through the Safe Water Drinking Act (administered by the EPA) and the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. I’m not sure additional state legislation is needed, but I’m willing to listen. The question of the relative roles of the county and the city in addressing issues specific to the Casper Aquifer is more complex, however. The issue of “extraterritorial jurisdiction” for city government over property just outside its borders needs to be addressed, but that issue is separate from (although related to) the question of aquifer protection.
Bill Haley (R-HD 46): Safe drinking water is a priority for every community in Wyoming and aquifer protection plays an important role. If the legislature tackles this issue we will have to balance aquifer protection with private property rights remembering that the State of Wyoming owns the water. Whether it is aquifer protection or any other bill that cuts across governmental entities’ boundaries, we must be aware of the additional obligations placed on those entities by that legislation. One thing I feel is very important on this type of legislation and its ensuing testimony is based on facts and science not emotion.
Ken Casner (D-HD 47): First where is such legislation? Why is this not already accomplished for Common sense is everyone needs water and aquifers are reserves? The Wyoming voters are everyone and of course we all know there are water rights even for States; however boundaries are imaginary lines, Water is common ground and through discussions and representation water benefits mankind. I feel the people of District 47 would agree if they knew what their choice is in legislative demands…