Second only to taking away one's freedom, the authority to tax is one of the government's most powerful tools. Taxes are the means to provide the collective services and infrastructure required or desired for our society. Besides providing this need, taxes can also be used to change behavior (tobacco), encourage business (tax breaks), or benefit special groups (non-profits).
The question always becomes "What is necessary? and Who Pays?" With an almost unlimited ability to tax, governments often do not worry about costs or need, after all, you can always raise taxes. The new buzzword is “diversify revenues”. That simple often means raising taxes on something.
Sorry, but NO. I believe in a balanced budget. There should be no programs authorized without an identified funding source. Often we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Government inefficiencies and wasteful or redundant practices squander the taxpayer dollars. The COVID virus has also exposed our dependence on the vast service sector industry including tourism.
Fairness of who pays and how much is again the question. I know I don't want to see a personal income tax and we know excessive taxes on business can be counterproductive. I don't have the answers yet but I won't shy away from the issue. At the core, I trust the people more than the government to determine more of what's needed and how to pay for it. I welcome all ideas and opinions.
- Firearms and the 2nd Amendment
I take the words "shall not be infringed" literally. I believe there is a natural human god-given right to self-preservation and defense of one's family or society. The Founding fathers could not get the Constitution ratified without the guarantee that the people had the right to bear arms to preserve this natural right. This became the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, not the eighth nor the 10th but the 2nd. that's how important it was to them.
A government that does not trust its citizens should not be in power. Anyone that believes that an inanimate tool, like a hammer, a drill, a baseball bat, or a firearm is the cause of violent human behavior is certainly illogical and maybe even delusional.
I believe the issue of "guns in schools" could be resolved by eliminating the Federal 1997 Gun Free School Zone Act. This would allow schools around the country to assess their own needs and policies. Fundamentally I believe no one should be denied their right to
carry a firearm for self-defense in the workplace ( this includes schools, hospitals, etc.) unless the employer provides absolute security for those employees. That does not mean dialing 911. I was an active supporter of the Park County 6 policy on firearms.
I'm a member of the NRA and for 30 years was an NRA police firearms instructor. I was a law enforcement officer for thirty-five years and throughout my career have given talks and demonstrations about many aspects of firearms. I've been a member of numerous firearms organizations around the country including Wyoming Gun Owners and African American Gun Owners. You can count on me to defend your rights to the best of my ability.
- Pro-life & Pro-family values
Planned Parenthood should not receive public funds. They are a primary abortion provider masquerading as a " women's health" provider.
Decisions medically necessary to preserve the health and life of a mother should be made by a mother and her physician with all relevant information given to the patient.
Termination of a viable fetus for "convenience", sex selection, or other non-medical reasons is abhorrent. There are alternatives.
Many studies have shown that a traditional two-parent household is the best environment for raising a successful child. Laws or policies should support this structure. At the same time, other family situations should not be ignored. Often the children are at higher risk of having problems. All families should be supported.
Supreme Court decisions that control some of these issues, esp. Roe vs. Wade will most likely be revisited as various state laws may be challenged. When these challenges reach the Supreme Court the most important thing will be who is sitting on the court at that time. We need to have judges who will make their decisions based on the Constitution and not from some agenda to make law on their own.
- Veterans Issues
I'm not a veteran myself, however, ironically I had a career in law enforcement where I got shot at domestically instead of by foreign combatants. That being said, I had one uncle who was career Air Force, one served in the Army, one in the Navy and my dad was Marine. One of my brothers was career Army along with my son (10th Mountain
Div.) who is now a disabled vet. My oldest granddaughter joined the Air Force and is serving in Japan. Veterans issues directly affect my family and I'm a strong supporter of our military. I'll have your back.
- Private Property Rights
I'm a supporter of Wyoming's long tradition of supporting the concept of strong personal property rights. Without a compelling cause or argument, upholding these rights should be the default mode. In my roles on Cody City and Park County Planning and Zoning board, I have a public record of supporting property owners from burdensome regulations and, as a citizen, I've spoken at county and city council hearings on similar issues. I would continue to do the same at the state level.
- Senior Issues
Let's put it this way. I'm a senior living off a fixed income with social security and Medicare. I'm a homeowner and I have a mother who's 92 and in an assisted living facility. My wife was laid off when
her business closed so I feel your pain. Needless to say, I will pay close attention to issues affecting seniors and will listen to constituents' concerns and ideas. I'm specifically interested in lowering property taxes for seniors through some type of "homestead" exemption for those over 65 who've been residents for at least five years. The same for car tags.
- Federal vs. State
"Regulation without representation" is what it's called. Many refer to it as federal overreach. People get distracted by "We need to take
our state back from the feds." The truth is there's nothing to take back. Carved from sections of Dakota, Utah, and Idaho territories, Wyoming Territory came into existence by an act of Congress on July 25, 1868,
the Organic Act. Congressmen considered naming the territory Lincoln after the recently deceased president, before settling on Wyoming. Wy was admitted as the 44th state on July 10, 1890.
At this same time, the federal government decided that it would retain a larger portion of non-private lands rather than give it all to the states. This resulted in the feds controlling up to 48% of land in many western states. It was never "state" land to start with.
In addition, the act creating the state has conditions attached to many of the lands ceded to the state. This has been a source of contention at many levels over the years. It's a complex legal, policy, and even constitutional issue.
The practical issue at this point seems to be "regulation without
representation." I believe this applies to much more than just federal land management issues. It applies to the vast federal bureaucracy that makes regulations and implements policies with the force of law. Much of this is done without the consent or in consultation with those they regulate. It's not just a matter of who can manage it better but really
involves the lack of consultation and consensus at the local level. The "one size fits all" model of centralized Washington, DC policymaking does not work. I will support any efforts by our national congressional representatives and Governor to get a more decentralized policy and decision-making process for federal agencies. More cooperation and better communication between the state and the feds can solve a lot of
The same "regulation without representation" also exists at the state level. This is something I would watch closely.
I support quality public education and school choice. I've been a teacher and know the challenges.
Article 7, Sec. 1 of the WY Constitution states: "The legislature shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of a complete and uniform system of public instruction, embracing free elementary schools of every needed kind and grade, a university with such technical and professional departments as the public good may require and the
means of the state allow, and such other institutions as may be necessary."
Pretty clear to me. The state provides for the schools and our constitution tells them how. It states that discrimination is not allowed and that the state will not tell districts what textbooks to use. It's a very interesting document and I encourage anyone to read it.
The main issues are mostly about funding. I know about some of this but I also believe we may also have a spending problem there. I'm particularly interested in the Community college funding as it's not a part of the constitutional mandate. I'm in favor of somehow getting funding parity for the Colleges. I also think our traditional reliance on
energy revenue needs to be addressed.
I also favor more support and emphasis on vocational education at all levels. I feel too many kids see the academic track as their only option for success. This would also benefit older students displaced from jobs by the changing economy or those just looking for a career change.
"School choice" or some type of voucher system would infuse education with private capital and decrease the need for increasing tax support.
- Economic Issues
According to Richard Risemberg. "Wyoming may be nicknamed the "Cowboy State," but industry there belies the moniker. Wyoming's biggest economic contributor is mining, followed by government services, with farming and ranching not making the top five.
Instead, real estate, manufacturing, and logistics follow mining and government services, with construction and retail at sixth and seventh. Tourism and other nature industries barely register in the state's economy."
29 percent of Wyoming's GDP comes from mining. Extractive industries shoulder most of the tax burden in the state since there are no personal or corporate income taxes and few taxes of any other kind.
Government is second in financial productivity at 14.3 percent of GDP, it is collectively the state's largest employer, employing more than 20 percent of Wyoming's workers.
Wyoming's economic drivers are not what people imagine there are. Without being realistic about the real economy, policy decisions are made that at best do nothing and at worst are counterproductive.