ELECTION 2014: House 23 candidates talk recent bills

By on October 29, 2014

Republican Jim Darwiche and Democrat Andy Schwartz discuss how they would have voted on a few watershed bills introduced in recent sessions.

ANDY SCHWARTZ

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Andy Schwartz

Concealed carry without a permit?

I talked to a lot of sheriffs. This is an issue where I’m going to go with the Sheriffs Organization on this one. They had huge objections to that. Understandably, if somebody wants to carry a weapon without a permit they can, but the sheriffs were pretty much saying it’s a huge benefit for them to know who’s carrying [and who isn’t]. I could never really understand what the benefit on the other side is. As a society, as a state, because that’s what the state legislators are trying to determine, what’s the benefit to society?

Concealed carry for teachers?

I’m nervous about putting more guns in the schools. It’s not something I’ve talked to a lot of people about. I would love it if schools could be more of a gun-free zone. This is a loaded question in a way. We obviously have a problem in our nation and I don’t know how we address it. I’m not sure I believe the notion that more guns makes us safer.

Death penalty firing squad alternative; death penalty stance in general?

I fundamentally don’t believe the death penalty is a good idea.

Fuel tax increase (10 cents/gallon)?

I would have voted for the 10 cents. I wouldn’t vote for another one right away. I think you need to let time pass and see what it does to gas prices, how much revenue it generates, is it enough revenue to deal with the problem we were having, which was infrastructure improvement.

Medicaid expansion?

I support Medicaid expansion and hope it can pass this session. It’s good for the working class poor, it’s good for providers, and it’s good for the state.

State lottery?

I’m not a big fan. I’m not sure how I would have voted. It tends, in most states, to be a type of regressive tax. The bulk of the people who buy lottery tickets are not wealthy. They are hoping to become wealthy. So it might not be the best way to fund education. It’s not as though I’m like, “Oh my God, lotteries, they are the worst thing that ever happened.” People who want to buy lottery tickets are going to buy them and if they are going to buy them in Idaho, they may as well buy them in Wyoming.

Superintendent of Public Instruction. Appointed or elected? Cindy Hill mess?

I was waiting for this one. I’ll start with the elected piece. It’s more than just superintendent of education because the person who is elected to this position sits on other boards, specifically the SLIB Board, which is a big deal. There’s five people on the SLIB board, so if you make the superintendent an appointed position, I’m assuming they won’t be on the SLIB board and it becomes a four-person board and that’s not always good. On the flipside, education is a big deal. Is it best to get the person who is running your education system elected as opposed to somebody who has expertise in the field?

I didn’t vote for Cindy Hill. I thought Mike Massey was clearly the better person for the job. I was concerned that Ms. Hill, well, she was pretty clear about a lot of things that I don’t agree with. On top of that, I don’t think she was a particularly good administrator, which is really the most important part of the job. And in a campaign you don’t really know, and it’s really hard to [demonstrate], what a good administrator you will be. Anybody can say it.

I think it’s OK for it to be elected. Maybe, constitutionally, we need to redefine what the duties are. I don’t have an answer to that one. This is what I know: It clearly went wrong and there were huge problems with her tenure in that job. And the Supreme Court was pretty clear that Senate File 104 was not the answer.

Wolves: state managed or federally protected?

I thought we had a pretty good balance worked out. I don’t know what the basis of the ruling was that overturned it. I’ll leave it at that.

Same-sex marriage?

To me, it’s part of the larger issue of equality. There’s no excuse for discrimination. I don’t care what the category is. We are a nation founded on certain principles and we should hold to those principles. And we are the Equality State, it’s our state principle as well. Gay marriage is a piece of that. I don’t see why the state should be determining who can marry whom. I don’t think this is a danger to society. I think it’s a right that all citizens should be able to have. Partly the issue is with marriage comes certain legal privileges and to deny those legal privileges to people is a problem.

JIM DARWICHE

Jim Darwiche

Jim Darwiche

Concealed carry without a permit?

I think this is fine. I don’t mind it. I really think the Second Amendment is clear. We have the right to carry guns.

Concealed carry for teachers?

I am not familiar with the bill. I’m not going to judge. I would want to know every detail behind it. I’m the type of person that before I would vote for a bill I have to do my homework. I have to weigh the positive versus the negative and make sure the bill is beneficial to all. We also have to keep in mind that every bill, once implemented, will cost money. I want to make sure the money we spend implementing the bill is worth the outcome of that bill.

Death penalty firing squad alternative; death penalty stance in general?

You get to that level – to decide if someone should die – after a thorough court system. We know the court system is fair and it’s the best that we have. But there is also a higher level of justice and that’s the creator of justice. Therefore, I wouldn’t rush into the death penalty just in case the death penalty has failed somewhere.

Fuel tax increase (10 cents/gallon)?

Before I would impose any taxes I would want to make sure that any department proposing those taxes doesn’t have enough, or there isn’t some money wasted that got us into the situation where we need more money. But in this particular situation the issue was that we need to work and maintain Highway 80. And Highway 80 happens to be the main highway for trucks to run goods from Long Beach to the Midwest, back and forth. All the statistics show that Wyomingites don’t use Highway 80 that much. So I believe we should ask the federal government to do that repair and not just rush to impose taxes on our people.

Medicaid expansion?

This is an issue that sounds on the outside like it’s stupid and dumb if we don’t just rush and do it. Because here there is money sitting on the table and all you have to do is take the money and you provide 17,000 people with medical insurance. That’s how it appears on the outside. But there are a lot of issues that go with it. For example, [what] nobody is saying is that the minute you provide that coverage, 6,000 people would lose their regular medical insurance that comes with their jobs. Two, the federal government is known not to deliver what they promise. We know it. They have not been sending the money they should be sending for our [minerals royalties].

When you start providing a service you cannot take it back. If you start providing a service and are limited with the amount of money to pay for it, you are going to be limited on how much you are going to get back. And when you take this service and you spread it very thin all over to the people who need it, guess what? You end up getting sometimes nothing. The governor is looking right now for ways to implement Medicaid expansion. We are in a good position as a state. We can see what other states do and what is the best way to implement it.

State lottery?

It’s fine. This is up to the individual to buy tickets or not. The money is going for a good cause and I think that’s fine.

Superintendent of Public Instruction. Appointed or elected? Cindy Hill mess? This is a very tricky thing. It’s a big mess. It will depend on the individual who gets elected. I believe that the person who gets elected usually has responsibility toward the people that elected them. In this case, I don’t know. I might think a little bit differently because the people who get elected for this position, who knows, they might be using it as a stepping stone for another elected position. If that person who gets elected understands the school system and understands education, great. But if not, then we just get another politician doing a job they are not really qualified to do. The bottom line right now, as the constitution of Wyoming reads, is I believe in supporting that person who gets elected.

Wolves: state managed or federally protected?

We are doing a great job in Teton County by keeping the wolf in the parks. Now does that really work for the rest of the state? I don’t want to tell other people in the state of Wyoming what to do. There are ranchers who believe that wolves are affecting their life and their future and that’s up to them to do what they need to do. I really believe the governor and Wyoming should decide what’s good for Wyoming and not a decision that comes from above. They don’t really know what’s really going on.

Same-sex marriage?

Live and let live. I’m not out there to choose for people who should be their partner or who should sit next to them [on their deathbed]. I do believe strongly that government should stay out of the bedroom and let people do what they want to do.

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