Senators receive the same reimbursements as Wyoming House members, $105 per day of work. The term of office is four years; there are no term limits. Voters receive a ballot containing only the candidate from the correct SD, based on residence. No Republican filed for SD 9.Candidates are listed in numerical order by district.
Albany County Candidates (Laramie County Candidates see below):
Why are you the best candidate for the office?
Chris Rothfuss (D) SD 9: I am the Senate Minority Leader for the Wyoming Legislature. I serve on the Education and Minerals Committees, and am Chairman of the Digital Information Privacy Taskforce. I am currently a consulting engineer and an instructor for the UW Honors Program. I received a PhD in Chemical Engineering and MS in Applied Physics from the University of Washington, and a MS in Chemical Engineering and BA in International Studies from UW.
Linda Fleming (D) SD 11: I am qualified for the Senate District 11 seat with experience as a Carbon County Commissioner (1990-2004), Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner (2001-2007) President 2005, presently serving on the Wyoming Humanities Council and the Wyoming Health Council and Med Bow-Routt Forest RAC. I am a retired science teacher and a member of a ranching family in the Baggs area. I have diverse interests and experiences which makes me the best candidate for the office.
Larry Hicks (R) SD 11: My experience, abilities, knowledge and desire to effectively represent all the people in my district. With regards to the Energy Industry I believe they need to provide and have an advisory role to the UW in the form of research need to further the industries needs with regards to research and graduates.
What are the proper relationships and responsibilities among the Legislature, the energy Industry, and the University?
Chris Rothfuss (D) SD 9: Academic freedom is essential to any university. UW must remain independent from industry and state government to be successful in its mission. At the same time, UW has a responsibility to help the state by providing objective expertise, analysis and resources when called upon. The nature of our state economy ensures that the energy industry will remain a strategic interest for UW research and education, but that interest must not predispose our academic outcomes.
Linda Fleming (D) SD 11: The legislature should be the two-way conduit between the citizens and the energy industry and UW. I would listen to my constituents; listen to needs and proposals of the energy industry which certainly funds many of the projects at the local, county and state levels; listen to the needs of the University in maintaining a high standard of academia and research for our citizens and the industries that fuel our state’s economy.
Larry Hicks (R) SD 11: The relationship should follow those established by the law creating the Land Grant University system Wyoming agreed to as part of our admission into the US, which says: “…where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe…”
What specific piece of legislation do you intend to sponsor that you would most like to convince the legislature to adopt?
Chris Rothfuss (D) SD 9: I will continue to support optional Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act that would provide coverage to an estimated 17,600 Wyoming citizens. By failing to support expansion, the legislature has left a significant portion of our population with no access to affordable health care and turned down nearly $750M in federal funds over seven years at a substantial cost to taxpayers.
Linda Fleming (D) SD 11: I would like to sponsor legislation that would address the over-night camping restrictions on the State Trust Lands. I would also support legislation that would expand the municipalities and counties funding options from the state while they try to meet the high cost of EPA and DEQ mandates for sewer, water and solid wastes.
Larry Hicks (R) SD 11: No one specific piece of legislation. The legislative process by its very nature of checks and rechecks is inherently better than one individual’s ability to write the best law. I would rather think that I would like to introduce several topics of importance and enlist the assistance of my colleagues through the legislative process to craft good laws than wasting my time trying to convince them that my legislation is superior.
Laramie County Candidates:
1. What do you feel is the most important issue facing the State of Wyoming? How would you address it?
Stephan Pappas (R): I would be hard pressed to label on issue more important than another, as most of the issues facing the state have a different relative importance for every person. I perceive that the most important issues to most people in the state are our economy, education, and healthcare. I will speak to the economy. I believe that we need to be very supportive of our current extractive industries, including mining of coal, uranium, and trona, and the extraction of oil and gas resources. But at the same time, we are the ‘Energy State’, and I believe we need to develop our wind, solar and perhaps geothermal resources as well. They must be part of must part of our portfolio. The key to keeping our existing industries viable and developing new energy resources is technology. We need to find ways to overcome the carbon issue, as it will not go away. We also need to find new ways to us our existing resources, especially coal. Tourism and Ag are or next largest sectors, which need to be fully developed, with smart planning and technology. Finally, it is imperative that we seek to diversify the economy outside of the energy industry. The technology sector is a very promising growth area and well suited for Wyoming.
2. Members of the Legislature have widely diverse constituent interests and positions. How important is it to learn about views and interests that differ from your own? How important is it to compromise and reach consensus in the Legislature?
Stephan Pappas (R): It is crucial to understand the views, interests, positions, and mindset of not only the members of the Legislature, but of all constituent groups, which include, federal, state, county, and town employees, business leaders and owners, workers both union and non-union, educators, healthcare professionals, tourism and agriculture workers, and others too numerous to mention. Compromise and consensus is all about finding common ground. It is the key to my business success in architecture. In virtually every project I manage a team of 6 to 8 consultant firms that must work as one team to create a successful project. In addition, I routinely work with client committees since I design so many public facilities. My strength lies in guiding these various groups to a consensus position. I impress on them that when multiple ideas are offered, and compromise is encouraged, usually the outcome is a solution better that anyone of the original single ideas. My career is full of successful examples, and I would seek to put those same skills to work with my colleges in the Legislature.
3. What are the proper relationships and responsibilities among the Legislature, the energy industry and the University of Wyoming?
Stephan Pappas (R): There needs to be a very strong bond in the relationship between the Legislature, industry and the University of Wyoming. I see it as a symbiotic relationship. The animal and insect world is full of wonderful symbiotic relationships, where each entity, by serving the other, actually enhances their own position. It is no different with industry, UW, and the Legislature. When the Legislature assist UW in excelling, good things are created that industry can use to benefit the bottom line. When their bottom line is good, jobs and salaries increase. When the economy does good because industry is healthy, then more taxes are paid, corporate giving is up, and the Legislature and UW benefit. It creates a healthy and profitable cycle for all.
4. The Legislature uses the budget and statutes to manage Executive agency programs. Do you support this intervention? (One example is the budget footnote passed in the last session to restrict the ability of the State Board of Education to review science standards. Would you support repeal of that footnote? )
Stephan Pappas (R): Yes, I would repeal that footnote. I believe issues such as this need proper debate and a vote. Legislating via footnote, in my mind, is a terrible practice that needs to be eliminated. There is way too much of it in the Wyoming State budget process, and it gets worse every session. Budget footnotes have their place as explanatory notes. They should not be used to bypass the legislative process.
5. What is the Legislature’s role in creating more jobs with higher pay in Wyoming?
Stephan Pappas (R): The private sector is the only entity that can create more jobs. Government at any level, but especially the State, should be in the business of enabling and resourcing programs that assist private sector growth. I am a definite advocate of limited government intervention, which is different than limited government. Government has its place and necessary role in our lives. It needs to be in a supportive role, and then get out of the way of industry and business, who are the folks that will create the jobs. When State government starts to micromanage industry, business, and even towns and counties, they add another layer of bureaucracy that increases costs and time and reduces efficiency. I have seen the State’s micromanagement tentacles creep in to my industry, the construction industry, over the last 15 years. I view it as harmful and costly.
6. Why is it so hard for elected officials to discuss the subject of conflict of interest and occasions when their actions may directly benefit themselves or immediate family? Where do you stand on disclosure of conflicts of interest by public officials and excusing themselves from those votes?
Stephan Pappas (R): Good question, but I don’t have an answer why it is a hard issue for some. Although I am not an elected official yet, I have no problem discussing the issue. I have faced conflict of issues all my life, and have not hidden from them. As an Air Force General Officer, I faced conflict of interest issues all the time. In fact, when I entered the Wyoming Air Guard, I was informed I could legally pursue military design projects. And although legal, I did not , as there could be an appearance of impropriety. In another instance, I served as a commissioner on Wyoming School Facilities Commission. And as architect who designs schools, I pledged to the Governor that I would not pursue K-12 school work while sitting on the commission; again, because I wanted to avoid even the slightest appearance of impropriety. Other design professionals who succeeded me did not make that same pledge. I credit my upbringing and my nearly 24 years in the Air Force for having instilled integrity in every aspect of my life.
7. Following elections, people who supported candidates who lost can feel disenfranchised. If you win your election, would you reach out to those who did not support you? Why or why not?
Stephan Pappas (R): I certainly would. I am sure there are people who will not support me either because they don’t know me or what I believe in, or their position on issues differ from mine, or they are more in agreement with the person running against me, or they are simply just friends with my opponent. Whatever the reasons, they are valid reasons. I do not expect everyone to agree with every one of my thoughts. However, as a lifelong consensus builder, I fully understand that I will not get my way. I have found that when we honestly listen to each other’s ideas, and find that common ground, that the solution is much better that either of our original positions, as I mentioned before. I welcome those thoughts and ideas of folks that think differently than I do. Their ideas are not any less valid than mine, and warrant full consideration from me.
8. Political office is public service. What local or state organizations have you served, in what capacity, and how will the experiences in these organizations help you in the elected office?
Stephan Pappas (R): Below I have included an abbreviated list of national, state, and local organizations that I have served. I see my life as a life of volunteer service. Giving back to my country, state, community, profession, church, and society is what energizes and satisfies me. I am all about “service before self”, one of the core values of the Air Force, and one of my key core values from a young boy. I believe the experiences in these organizations have taught me leadership skills, collaborative skills, and people skills, all of which will be great assets as a legislator.
- Commissioner Wyoming State School Facilities Commission (past)
- President Wyoming State Board of Architects and Landscape Architects (past)
- University of Wyoming College of Civil and Architectural Engineering Advisor Board Member (current)
- National Architecture Registration Examination – Wrote exam questions for 4 years (past)
- National Architectural Accreditation Board – Accredited 10 University Architecture programs (past)
- Member of American Institute of Architects (current)
- Member Wyoming Air National Guard for 23+ years – Retired Brigadier General (past)
- State Chairman of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (past)
- Member of Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce – Selected “2009 Person of the Year” (current)
- President of the Society of American Military Engineers (past)
- Vice President of the Air Force Association, Cowboy Chapter (current)
- Chairman of the Cheyenne Contractors Licensing Board – served 12 years (past)
- Graduate of Leadership Wyoming – Currently the Chairman of its Advisory Board (current)
- Member of the Greek Orthodox Church Board of Trustees for 11 years (current)
- President of Young Men's Literary Club of Cheyenne – member since 1998 (current)