Term is four years with no term limits; compensation is $92,000.
No response was received from candidate Clark Stith (R), Rock Springs.
- What are your qualifications for the office you seek? (75 words)
Ed Buchanan (R): I have degrees in political science and public administration. I am familiar with corporate formation, election laws, the Uniform Commercial Code and the process for promulgating agency rules. I served for 10 years in the Wyoming Legislature while running my small business. I served as Speaker of the House and developed an understanding of the interrelation between the executive and legislative branches. My focus is on making government more transparent and responsive to the people.
Pete Illoway (R): My experience as a businessman, a former Legislator and community leader are of great value to the SOS’s office and the boards and commissions it serves. During eight of my 14 years in the Legislature, I was Chairman of the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee. This committee worked hand in hand with the SOS’s to keep Wyoming business friendly and conduct elections with integrity and openness. Please visit my resume at www.peteilloway.com.
Ed Murray (R): My career has focused on building small businesses, growing the economy, creating jobs, and improving communities. I have led numerous developments resulting in hundreds of opportunities for housing, schools, open spaces, businesses and improved infrastructure. This can be attributed to a keen entrepreneurial spirit, attention to detail, uncompromising integrity, and desire to lead positive change. As Secretary of State, I am prepared to bring this edge to the way Wyoming does business, centering on transparency, innovation, and efficiency.
- What measures could the Secretary of State take to expand voter registration and participation without compromising the integrity of elections, especially for absentee voters? (100 words)
Ed Buchanan (R): We can increase participation utilizing online resources for increased registration. Education is the key to citizen engagement and, making it easier and faster to vote would encourage them as well. Expanding early voting to ease the burden of election staff on election day would make the process faster. When it comes to absentee voting, I believe the system works well, but vigilance is key against voter fraud. I think the oath required for absentee voting helps to prevent fraud. Educating people on the process by which they may vote absentee is a way to increase this type of voting.
Pete Illoway (R): I would like to see the Secretary of State’s office, and the Secretary in particular, partner with county clerks, community colleges, UW and groups such as the LWV to educate people on the importance of voting. Elections are won by single votes, every vote counts, every voter matters and with the ease of the absentee ballot and early voting process I would like to promote the reasons to take the time to vote. I would also encourage communities to open locations convenient for voters on election days.
Ed Murray (R): I’ve embarked on a 23 county listening tour and spoken with each county clerk. Clerks are concerned with continuing compliance with the Help America Voter Act. I support having mandatory photo ID to register. Clerks should regular office hours in high schools to help register new voters. I am encouraged by the prospect of having “voting centers” in counties. If you lived in Albin but worked in Cheyenne, on Election Day you could vote at the voting center in Cheyenne. I do believe our current system of early and absentee voting is convenient and secure.
- What opportunities does the Secretary of State have to encourage business diversification in Wyoming? Explain. (100 words)
Ed Buchanan (R): The legislature funds business ready communities and community enhancement and other programs to develop the infrastructure necessary to attract and sustain new businesses. The Secretary of State, as a member of the State Loan and Investment Board, has an opportunity to be an ambassador to Wyoming communities. Traveling throughout Wyoming, listening to the individual communities, allows the Secretary of State to make educated votes on the infrastructure needs of a local area. This can be utilities, fiber optics, water and sewer or beautification. All of this is the catalyst for new and different businesses to re-locate or establish in Wyoming.
Pete Illoway (R): The Secretary serves on the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB). The SLIB invests in infrastructure projects throughout the state that are designed to allow local communities the opportunity to attract new businesses. As a member of the Wyoming Business Council I have worked and voted for these investments and will continue to look at opportunities for communities throughout the state. No other candidate for SOS has these qualifications and can bring this experience to this job. I will continue to advocate for communities and bring their voice to the state boards and commissions.
Ed Murray (R): It is imperative that the Secretary of State’s office operates with the best technology and efficiencies so outside companies know Wyoming is open for business. We have shovel ready business parks throughout the state, the infrastructure is in place. Keeping taxes and regulations low guarantees that Wyoming remains a business friendly. Through collaboration and cooperation with local governments, UW and the Community Colleges, and the Business Council we can diversify the economy. I have a business background in development which would greatly benefit deliberations on the SLIB Board as projects are being considered. I'm committed to growing Wyoming’s economy through good jobs and economic diversification.
Questions 4- 7 posed by the Cheyenne League of Women Voters.
4. As a statewide elected official, you will sit on the State Loan and Investment Board and the Board of Land Commissioners. How will you weigh requests for loans and grants from local governments? What principles do you bring to decisions about school trust lands?
Pete Illoway (R): As a member of the Wyoming Business Council I have experience in evaluating the applications by local governments for SLIB funding. There are needs and there are wants – I will listen hard for the needs, ask for local commitment and evaluate each on the fiscal facts. Our local governments do an incredible job and I will work closely with towns, cities and counties and do what’s right to move Wyoming ahead on infrastructure. Community is the heart and soul of Wyoming. Second part, I believe that state trust lands should be managed to optimize returns to the beneficiaries.
Ed Murray (R): Wyoming has a huge amount of wealth as a state due to our energy sector, and it is my priority to reinvest more of this wealth where it belongs: in Wyoming’s communities. Communities across the state are struggling to protect a high quality of life while maintaining public infrastructure and revitalizing main streets and neighborhoods, all while spurring local economic growth. I am firmly committed to investing in Wyoming communities, not just Wall Street. I am a strong proponent of local control and would like to see more predictability in funding given to counties and municipalities to encourage the success of locally governed projects. I consider public infrastructure a high priority for Wyoming counties and municipalities, as we are looking at deferred maintenance costs that may cost more in time than if we addressed these issues now. In addition to public infrastructure, I am a proponent of making wise investments that serve as a catalyst for further positive economic development. In my capacity as a businessman, I have lead many successful investment and development efforts. Understanding the difference between spending and investing, I would prioritize requests that invest in communities and support further positive growth. I believe that the playing field for funding should be as level as possible for communities across the state, and that rural communities must be served with the same consideration as non-rural communities. I also believe school trust lands should be managed in the same fashion, maximizing their value for the Wyoming school system.
5. Lobbyists play a big part in shaping legislation in Wyoming, especially with our “citizen” Legislature. Would you favor stronger requirements for lobbyists to disclose their expenditures and their sources of income?
Pete Illoway (R): The Secretary of State rarely sets policy without legislative direction. Lobbyists provide a vital function in our democracy, especially in a citizen legislature where legislators rely on accurate information from those that are affected by legislation. Personally, I believe that Wyoming’s disclosure laws are adequate. If the legislature feels a need to change the law, then as Secretary of State I will enforce it.
Ed Murray (R): As someone who believes in increased transparency, accountability and open records throughout the entire governmental process, I favor greater transparency with the lobbying of the Wyoming legislature. As Secretary of State, I will make the filing process for lobbyists online, rather than the current paper filing which delays reporting. Reports of expenditures should be available online for citizens to review and the threshold for reporting should be lowered from $500 to $50.
6. What are the one or two things you would like to accomplish at the Secretary of State’s office? Would they require legislative action? How would you pay for them?
Pete Illoway (R): First, as a member of the SLIB I would propose using technology to allow members of small, distant communities to present their applications for funding rather than making them endure one or two days of travel and hundreds of dollars in expenses for a fifteen minute presentation to the SLIB. This would require no legislation. Second, I would like to modernize the business entity division. This takes money that would come from the legislature. Wyoming’s twenty-three county clerks are elected by the voters in their counties. Their budgets are set county by county. That is local government working best – not Cheyenne telling them what to do.
Ed Murray (R): I believe that one of the biggest challenges facing the next Secretary of State will be keeping Wyoming as business friendly as possible in light of ever-developing challenges, including an overreaching federal government, fraud from shell companies trying to operate in Wyoming, and burdensome rules and regulations that stifle free enterprise. I will respond to these challenges by putting my business experience to use and advocating strongly for business-friendly practices, enhancing the office through new technology, and maintaining the integrity of Wyoming business through successful, conservative business principles. With regards to the important boards and commissions on which I would sit, I'll work tirelessly to keep Wyoming’s economy on the right track. On the State Land and Investment Board (SLIB), it is my priority to reinvest more of Wyoming's wealth in Wyoming communities rather than in Wall Street. I especially would like to see more predictability in funding for counties and municipalities to encourage the success of locally governed project. We have an unparalleled quality of life in Wyoming, but decisions made outside of Wyoming can have a chilling impact on our state’s economy and our lives. We need a Secretary of State who can be a good ambassador for Wyoming, which includes the ability to push back when necessary. These efforts would most likely not need legislative action or appropriations to the office. Rather, leadership within the office is what will initiate these enhancements. I believe we need a business leader in the business office, and this fresh perspective is something I’m prepared to deliver to better serve the people and businesses of Wyoming as Secretary of State.
7. Wyoming’s initiative and referendum process has always been tough, with only a handful ever getting on the ballot and even fewer getting approved by voters. Recent changes have made it virtually impossible, without paid signature gatherers. Would you favor easing those requirements, maybe back to the original process?
Pete Illoway (R): We can’t be Colorado or California where big money buys policy – as in the marijuana legalization case. Still, we can strengthen the law to safeguard Wyoming and engage on ballot issues. In 2002 I supported a joint resolution to amend the constitution to improve the process of gathering signatures. That bill failed 17 to 42. In 2007 I supported HJ4 which passed the House 43-17 but failed to be heard on general file in the senate. In 2008 I supported HJ1 which was identical to HJ4 from 2007. In 2008, the constitutional amendment was placed on the ballot but failed to get the majority vote it needed to pass. That was the will of the people – and frankly – we need to respect it.
Ed Murray (R): I believe that the current two percent threshold for signatures is appropriate, but I would be open to lengthening the amount of time for the gathering of Independent ballot access signatures. As Secretary of State, I also pledge that my elections division will work to expedite the approval of the petition used for signature gathering. My fear is that if we weaken the threshold we run the risk of mirroring the State of California and reducing the importance of our citizen legislature.