The Saratoga Sun -

 
 

U.S. Representative

One open seat • Two-year term • 12 candidates

 


Constitution Party

Daniel Clyde Cummings did not respond to repeated calls and emails from the Saratoga Sun.

Democratic Party

Ryan Greene

When listing his qualifications, Ryan Greene begins with the story of his family business. “Over the last two decades, I helped my family expand one welding truck into a 250 employee energy services business,” he writes. Greene describes a life of steady career progressions, in which he worked his way up “from roustabout to welder, and crew foreman to operations director.”

Time spent in both coal mines and natural gas fields and “firsthand experience building and managing a budget for a small business,” give him an understanding of Wyoming’s needs and problems, Greene writes. “I’ve worked the jobs Wyoming works, and enjoyed Wyoming’s public lands as a sportsman–and our next congressman needs that understanding of Wyoming culture and values in order to give our state true representation at the federal level,” he sums up.

When asked about bipartisanship, Greene frames his response in terms of government effectiveness. “If Wyoming sends people out there that won’t work outside of their party, they’re not working with half of Congress. That means Wyoming issues are only in half of the conversations, and Wyoming ultimately loses out. It’s the difference between shaping federal policies and reacting to them,” Greene says. As he sees it, “Wyoming issues don’t belong to either party. Wyoming wants Medicaid Expansion; Wyoming wants gun rights; Wyoming wants public lands in public hands; and Wyoming wants a strong energy sector. Wyoming issues cross the aisle and we need a congressman that will too.”

On the topic of diversifying Wyoming’s economic base, Green says that the answer will be piecemeal, small bore and practical. He warns against “big promises (leading to) dead end deals.” One place Green believes he can make an economic impact as a freshman congressman would be by “clawing and scraping for federal grants to support (small business owners).” During tough times, Green writes, help can come from “Over $500 million in transportation and communication infrastructure grants.” These funds, he says, can “connect rural communities, ag producers, and small businesses to larger markets.”

In terms of committees, Greene emphasizes that he would be a good fit for House Energy and Commerce Committee. The candidate also says “I am not a novice when it comes to Wyoming’s ag sector,” and that experience working with fertilizer plants would make him a good choice for the House Agriculture Committee as well.

When it comes to the Common Core Curriculum, Greene describes the issue as a state-level choice that wouldn’t fall under his purview. “Wyoming’s State Government said ‘yes’ to Common Core, and Wyoming’s State Government can also say “no” to it any time,” he writes.

Like Hardy, Greene lists four big goals for his time in office, if elected. Among these are working with both parties as well as independents to make sure all of Wyoming is heard in Washington, and to fight “to bring our tax dollars back to Wyoming.” Greene also promises to “Fight to Keep Public Lands in Public Hands; (and) support ALL of Wyoming’s energy and ag producers through grants, legislation, and initiatives.”

Charlie Hardy

Though Charlie Hardy was the 2014 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Wyoming, this is not what he stresses when listing his qualifications to serve in the U.S. House. Instead, Hardy lingers on a peripatetic youth, and lessons taught to him through travel to over 30 different countries and all 50 states. “As a missionary priest in South America, I lived for eight years in a government housing project in a shack without running water or sewers,” he writes.

Hardy also speaks of visiting “migrant farmers in their humble shacks,” while traveling the backroads of Colorado and Wyoming as a 20 year old, and studying “a bit of eleven languages.” Hardy likewise mentions contract-work he did for the energy industry on tankers and drilling platforms in the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. In Wyoming, Hardy has worked as a public junior high and high school substitute teacher in Cheyenne.

“I have listened to and walked with others, bringing home new ideas and perspectives. There is no other candidate running for the U.S. House of Representatives who has had the privilege of having the experiences I have had through the years,” he sums up.

On the subject of bipartisanship, Hardy does not delve into specific projects on which he has worked with Republicans. He does say he maintains friendships with people of many different political leanings, and that while he is a proud Democrat who believes in the Wyoming party platform, “I want all the citizens of our state to understand that I want to represent them all.”

His plan for addressing Wyoming’s lack of economic diversity is to fundamentally transition the state’s extraction-based economy. “We must invest in clean energy, including wind, solar and natural gas and we must prepare those people who will be affected by low markets in oil and coal to work in those industries,” he says.

Committees Hardy says he is interested in serving on in the House include Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. “Because of my lifetime familiarity with the countries of Latin America, I also feel that I would be a valuable member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Hardy continues.

Speaking of the Common Core Curriculum, Hardy writes, “I believe it is good to have common teaching goals, but I do not believe that standardized testing should be the only criteria for judging the performance of school systems, teachers or students.”

If elected, Hardy lists four priorities he would have in office. These include job creation in the U.S. and Wyoming, a $15-an-hour minimum wage and “get(ting) big money out of politics, so that the voices of all citizens are heard.” Hardy writes, “Healthcare and higher education and training after high school are rights and not luxuries that only the wealthy can afford.”

REPUBLICAN Party

Heath Beaudry did not respond to the Saratoga Sun's questionnaire

Liz Cheney responded to the Sun's questionnaire, but it was not received before press time

Leland Christensen

Leland Christensen of Alta in Teton County is one of nine candidates running to be nominated as the Republican candidate for Wyoming’s open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Christensen stresses that his over 35 years’ of public service and his diverse experiences as a business owner, legislator, law enforcement officer and soldier, plus his deep-rooted concerns for the state of Wyoming and its residents makes him most qualified to be nominated for the opportunity to run for the house seat.

Christensen brings a lengthy resume of public service to the nation, the state and his local community. He served in the military for 15 years as a member of the U.S. Army 19th Special Forces Airborne, and the Wyoming National Guard. He has also worked as a law enforcement officer for the Sheriffs’ Departments of Teton and Lincoln Counties, was twice elected to the Teton County Board of Commissioners and is at present serving his second term as a Wyoming State Senator.

Christensen also touts his experience as a small business owner, and this in tandem with his public service record, qualifies him for the open U.S. House seat, he says.

“I believe the job of Wyoming’s next representative isn’t just to fight for our state, but to elevate the conversation armed with real world experience and a deep rooted understanding of our people, places and businesses, He said. “We need someone who has lived through the ups and downs of the energy economy, who’s run a business, who’s served at the local and state level and who is ready to focus on Wyoming 100% of the time.”

As Wyoming has recently slid into the “bust” phase of the cyclical boom-and-bust economy because of a downturn in the coal and oil markets, Christensen says he believes that pushing back against federal regulations and policies, as well as simplifying the tax code are important ways to improve Wyoming’s economy. Christensen also says that improving access to job training programs is another priority of his that he believes will help improve the state’s economy.

For education in general, Christensen says he is not in favor of common-core curriculum and standardized testing, and instead would work to return more control over curriculum to the state, local bodies and parents.

“A one-size-fits all education policy just doesn’t work,” Christensen said. “What’s right for a student in New York City isn’t always going to be right for a student in Hulett. Our rural schools in particular need to have authority to educate their students as they see fit.”

Christensen said that if elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, he would hope to be able to serve on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Armed Services Committee, citing the impact those committees have on the state of Wyoming and its citizens. Christensen said that on those committees and in the House in general, he would strive to work together with representatives from other states and parties to find common ground and create sound legislation without compromising his beliefs.

He cites his time working in the state Senate and as county commissioner as proof of his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion.

Because Wyoming only has one house seat, it cannot afford to elect someone to that seat who merely opposes every policy proposed by a person or party they do not like, Christensen said, adding that he would like to try and put an end to partisan gridlock in the federal government.

“Working with individuals with whom you do not always agree is a fact of life,” he said. “This doesn’t mean compromising, or giving up on your values; It means building coalitions, finding common ground and focusing on solutions.”

“My biggest goals in Washington are to rein in the reach of the federal government and restore state’s rights; advocate for Wyoming energy production and the management of our natural resources, and expand education and job opportunities for Wyoming citizens to help create jobs,” Christensen said.

Mike Konsmo

Mike Konsmo is a professor at Northwest College and makes his home in Powell, Wyo. When describing his qualifications for the House, Konsmo touts his teaching experience and the attention he pays to would-be constituents. “I always listen to the people of our state. Our state and our people always know what’s best for our state and our people. As I have traveled the state, I have listened carefully to each voter,” he writes.

When asked about what issues he would be willing to work on with Democrats and independents, or to provide an example of when he had worked across the aisle to solve a problem, Konsmo response focused on restoring trust in government. In his 10 bullet point answer, Konsmo promised to hold office hours for constituents 365 days a year, not fundraise for his reelection during his first year in office and to serve for no more than four consecutive terms. In his tenth bullet item, he mentioned that he would hold a weekly conference call with the Republican Party chair from each of Wyoming’s 23 counties, and says “I will extend this offer to other parties.”

Konsmo’s plans for broadening Wyoming’s economic base rest on several different proposals. These include wooing high tech companies and data centers to the state, and investing in physical infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and airports, as well as telecommunications infrastructure such as high speed internet and cellphone coverage. Konsmo also wants to “Boost existing industries like Tourism and Outdoor Recreation,” maintain funding for education and “Expand the Mission of Warren Airforce Base.”

There are five committees which Konsmo would be interested in serving on in the House, if elected. These include the Education and Workforce Committee, Natural Resources, Armed Services, Agriculture and the Energy and Commerce. On Energy and Commerce, Konsmo says he would focus on “building the new shipping ports on the West Coast of the United States so that we can send our coal, oil and natural gas to new markets around the world.”

When it comes to the Common Core Curriculum, Konsmo says his teaching background give him unique insight on educational issues. “As a teacher, I would be a strong advocate to discard Common Core and find a new plan that will satisfy the demands of parents and teachers while also attending to the long-term future of our students,” he writes.

Based on the goals he lists for his time in office, a big focus of Konsmo’s tenure would be helping the energy industry thrive. His big promises include the construction of a coal terminal in Washington state, the construction of transmission infrastructure for renewables, the building of a shipping port on the Pacific coast and promoting the mining of rare earth elements and uranium. Perhaps most ambitiously, Konsmo pledges to work to “Increase the price of oil through renewed international production agreement and international political stability.”

Paul Paad did not respond to the Sun's questionnaire

Jason Adam Senteney

Jason Senteney, running to be the Republican nominee for Wyoming’s open US House of Representatives seat, said his diverse background makes him the most well-rounded candidate who is running for the party’s nomination.

He enlisted in the Marines after high school he said, and once he returned to Wyoming he continued to serve the public in his role as a corrections officer, volunteer firefighter and by serving on an air quality compliance board for small businesses. He has also run several businesses and worked as a television photojournalist on the political beat.

He also said he would work to improve Wyoming’s economy by finding ways to put an end to the boom-and-bust cycle that comes from a heavy reliance on the oil, gas and coal industries.

“For several months, I have been talking about the need to diversify our economy and work to stop living by the boom and bust cycle that comes with relying heavily on the energy sector,” he said. “(If elected), I will be meeting with business leaders from around the country at my own expense and working to poach jobs from other states by showing those leaders the economic benefits of moving to Wyoming.”

Should he be elected to Congress, Senteney said he would like to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee since that would be an effective way to reach his goal of eliminating the federal income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax, which he said will help pay down the national debt, revitalize infrastructure and secure the borders. He also would like to have a position on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, since it has one of the broadest jurisdictions of any of the House Committees, he said.

He would also like to serve on the House Committee on Veteran’s affairs. “Being a veteran, I will do everything I can to assist those who fought or were willing to fight for our freedoms,” Senteney said.

Senteney said that he does not support Common Core Curriculum, and that he believed the U.S. Department of Education should have no regulatory oversight for K-12 education in the country. “Curricula should be decided at the local level,” he said. “I will work to ensure the teachers in each district have the tools they need to be successful and restrict the federal government from dictating policy concerning what our kids are being taught.”

He said his list of goals he would like to accomplish in Washington are to establish term limits for members of congress, tax reform and campaign finance reform.

Darin Smith did not respond to the Sun's questionnaire

Tim Stubson

Asked what qualifications he feels he has to represent Wyoming on the federal level, Tim Stubson emphasized how firmly rooted he and his family are in the Cowboy State. “I have spent my entire life in Wyoming working and raising my family, so I know and understand what is at stake. I can’t pick up and move elsewhere if things take a turn for the worse,” Stubson writes. Professionally, Stubson cites his nine years in the Wyoming Legislature, and his service on that bodies Select Federal Natural Resource Management Committee, where he says he is directing funding to clean coal technology research. “My experience with federal issues and fighting for the energy industry makes me the only candidate that is prepared to hit the ground running day one,” Stubson says.

When it comes to bipartisanship, Stubson says it’s getting results that matters. “I am going to Washington to get things done, and I’ll work with whomever I have to in order to create a brighter future for Wyoming,” he pledges. As evidence that he will make good on this promise, Stubson writes “In the Wyoming Legislature, I worked with Minority Leadership to pass numerous bills that were for the good of our state. Party affiliation doesn’t matter if you’re working to get the right things done for Wyoming.”

Stubson’s plans for stimulating Wyoming’s economy revolve largely around resource extraction, helping small businesses and loosening regulations. “We must build on our strengths and broaden the use of natural resources,” he writes. Stubson also speaks of working to roll back “damaging regulations like the Clean Power Plan,” and “changing our tax structure so that people are not punished for going into business for themselves.”

Committees Stubson is interested in serving on if he is elected include the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. These committees have a big impact on Wyoming, Stubson writes, “and we need a Member that is laser-focused on Wyoming’s issues, not trying to advance their career by using the office as a stepping stone.”

“The U.S. is rated 14th worldwide in education, yet spends more than any other nation,” Stubson writes explaining his opposition to the Common Core Curriculum. “You have to put control back in the hands of the people that are closest and most invested in the students: the parents and teachers at the local level,” he says.

If elected, Stubson says his main goals will be reforming Washington and deregulating the energy sector. “I want to take concrete steps towards eliminating lifetime pensions and automatic pay increases for members of Congress. I also will make sure that lobbyists are forced to disclose how much they are being paid and who their clients are,” he says of the former effort. Of the latter, Stubson writes that he will assemble a national coalition “to scale back the Obama Administration’s most destructive regulations, taking some much-needed pressure off our energy sector and getting Wyoming back to work.”

LIBERTARIAN Party

Editor’s note: This is Mr Struempf’s emailed reply to the Saratoga Sun.

My name is Lawrence Struempf, and I am Wyoming’s Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congress.

I believe in the Libertarian core values, less government and more liberties; less federal and more state control of local resources. I believe and support the U.S. Constitution and our country.

What qualifications or experiences do you think would make you a good representative for Wyoming?

I was raised on a cattle ranch in Fremont County where we grew alfalfa hay and raised cattle. I was very active in 4-H and FFA. I attended the University of Wyoming, where I drove semi-trucks and managed a Mini Mart to help pay my way through college. I earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science, a master’s in management, and am currently working on my doctorate in education at UW.

I have experienced a variety of careers. I grew up working the ranch, irrigating, cutting and bailing hay, branding and tending cattle and horses, and fixing everything that needs fixing. I worked construction, operated heavy equipment, and drove semis. I took a break from college to manage a Mini-Mart. I worked as a network/systems engineer and project manager after college. I started up and managed my own corporation, setting up and repairing networks, servers, and related computer information systems. I have also worked as college faculty for 13 years.

For over 15 years I have been and continue to be an active leader in the community. I have presided over and chaired many clubs, foundations, committees and boards. I served as president and lieutenant governor of Kiwanis the president of the Laramie Rotary Club. I am a strong team leader and project manager, enabling me to effectively communicate with people who opposing ideas, working together to build a consensus.

For years, a lack of economic diversity has left Wyoming open to the boom and bust cycle of oil and coal markets. Do you have any economic policy proposals that would address this issue?

As Wyoming’s next U.S. Congressman, I will work hard to strengthen Wyoming’s and our nation’s economy. Creating new ways to market and capitalize on resources that currently exist would be most beneficial to the economic health. As natural gas is the largest component of Wyoming’s revenue stream, creating liquidification plants in Wyoming would enable Wyoming to more than double its revenue from natural gas. New technologies such as the liquidification of coal would also greatly benefit the United States and Wyoming. Another area that would benefit the economy would include the development of a more efficient and stable technology and datacenter infrastructure. Wyoming is one of the best locations in the nation for mega-datacenters.

What House committees or leadership positions would you pursue if elected to the House?

As your next congressman, I will be a valued leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. With my knowledge and experience in agriculture, technology, and education, I will be a valued member of those committee in congress. My leadership and project management experience will enable me to work with the different sides and views to build a consensus for each problem and bill that comes before me.

I am an honest man and a hardworking man just like my father was. I am a good father and a good citizen of the United States of America and of my community. I believe in God, and I believe if we all work hard: we can make the world better for our children.

In what areas could you foresee yourself working with members of the opposite party? Can you name an instance in which you worked with members of the opposite party to solve a problem?

As a Libertarian, I always expect to be working with members from the Republican and the Democratic parties. I will work hard to bring both sides together and build a consensus to best serve the citizens of this nation and of Wyoming.

I will work hard to solve the problems that come before me. I want to remind Americans that we have more than two parties and more than two choices. I want to stand up for what is right and good, rather than a party line.

What is your position on the Common Core Curriculum?

One of my major visions for my term in congress, is to help improve and save our public education system. I want to protect and improve the United States’ public education system; to protect the quality of the teachers and the schools for the sake of the students. Since the United States adopted Common Core Curriculum, the educational ranking of our nation has fallen around the world. It is important that we explore new educational models to ensure the future of our nation.

What goals do you have for your time in office?

I will be an honest and effective congressman.

I want to work to ensure a productive and stable technology infrastructure for our nation. I will work to foster new resources and markets to grow our economy.

I want to help protect Americans’ rights and freedoms; the right to own and bear arms; the right to have access to public lands.

I want to protect and improve the American public education system; to protect the quality of the teachers and the schools for the sake of the students.

I want to help improve the economy by protecting current industries as well as exploring new markets and opportunities.

I will put service above self and build goodwill with all Americans for a strong and healthier country

As your next U.S. representative, I will work hard to protect Wyoming jobs, ranging from agriculture and education to coal and oil. I will work to protect the rights and liberties of all Americans. I will work to address federal regulations that negatively impact our lands and industries. I will work with world leaders, national leaders, and Wyoming leaders to address problems and to serve the needs of Wyoming and the United States of America.

 

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