Over the course of the last 13 years I have been privileged to serve in the Wyomingites of House District No. 22 during four legislative sessions. In those eight years, I worked to represent the people of Teton, Lincoln and Sublette counties with an eye toward fairness and policies that benefited all of my constituents.
However, it is with mixed emotions that I have decided not to run for office again because I believe it is time to pass the torch. While my service to the state, and to you, has been rewarding in immeasurable ways, it is also time-consuming and often frustrating.
During my first two sessions from 2008 to 2012, I admired the way lawmakers worked together to find compromise in a civil manner. When I was asked to run again in 2018, I did not realize how the divisiveness had festered and created a legislature driven with far less ability to compromise.
One of the unique aspects of HD 22 is the diverse constituency spread between agriculture in Sublette, tourism-based in Teton and traditionally conservative in northern Lincoln counties. IT has forced me to greet each issue with an open mind and careful consideration.
One of my greatest accomplishments during my tenure was the passage in 2009 of an ad valorem tax on helium that had been overlooked for years and brought several millions of dollars into Sublette County and the state as a whole. I worked closely with Sublette County Commissioners, the governor and members of the minerals committee to pass this piece of legislation.
In 2012, I co-sponsored legislation that made it illegal to text while driving. I know in my heart, this legislation has saved lives and I am proud to have made it a priority.
Over the years I have served on the minerals, corporations and revenue committees and select committees on natural resource and wildlife funding and water. Through this work I have come to meet some of the best and brightest that Wyoming has to offer. I have been fortunate to serve on some of the most respected and effective committees.
It is important for you to understand that over my legislative career, lawmakers have made significant cuts to state government spending. Those cuts impacted education, health care and roads. In the last year, the state, flush with money from oil and minerals, we have attempted to restore some of the funding cut over the last decade. But we must, as a state, recognize that the volatility in the minerals market will continue to make it challenging for Wyoming to thrive.
I can also say with certainty that Wyoming’s elections are safe, well run and accurate. After considerable examination at many state and county agencies, it was clear there was no fraud in the 2020 election. The Wyoming Secretary of State and county clerks looked into every accusation of foul play and take great pride in their work. As a member of the Joint Appropriations Committee, I had the privilege to work with them.
This last year, the majority of the work of that committee was conducting the federally mandated redistricting process. This was a messy process but nonetheless, I am proud of the work we did on that committee and the bill that we sent to the legislature.
As I step back, I would like to endorse Bob Strobel to replace me as an independent that will think for himself and consider the needs of all HD 22’s constituents. He is a small Teton County business owner that lives just outside Etna in Lincoln County with his young family. I have spent time over the last couple of years working with Mr. Strobel on the legislative process and what I believe it takes to make a good representative.
I would like to thank the people that I have served. It has been an honor to represent you in the state legislature.