The Candidates: House District 22

By on November 2, 2016

House District 22

Candidates: Marti Halverson-R (incumbent) and Marylee White-D

Marti Halverson-R

Q: What is your stance on the transfer of public lands and why?

Halverson: I support the transfer of public lands to the state of Wyoming. Short of transfer, I support management of our public lands. It is legal and Constitutional as evidenced by the transfer in 38 other states, including Hawaii as recently as 2009. Wyoming can afford it, as shown in a 2014 report by a UW economist, and PERC analyses for Montana, Idaho, New Mexico and Arizona. Wyoming does not need to sell the public lands, and no one wants to privatize them. The federal government has the only incentive to sell, not the state. The federal government is not honoring its bargain with the state under FLPMA. The condition of our forests and rangelands is deteriorating under federal management. Wyoming can do better.

Q: Wyoming is No. 50 when it comes to providing the uninsured the chance to obtain health insurance, including single mothers who are disproportionately affected. What is your view on expanding Medicaid? 

Halverson: I oppose Medicaid expansion in Wyoming. Expansion is busting budgets everywhere it has been implemented. Enrollee projections have gone from 16,000 to 28,000. Expansion comes at the expense of those for whom the program was intended in 1965—the disabled, poor, pregnant women and their children, and dual-eligible seniors on Medicare. Other states have seen able-bodied, childless, working-age adults drop their private coverage to take advantage of “free” Medicaid. President Obama twice proposed reductions in the federal government’s participation in state Medicaid programs. There is no legal obligation for Washington to keep its funding promise. Hospitals are losing money due to the inability of ACA enrollees to meet their huge co-pays and deductibles, not because Wyoming has not expanded Medicaid. Emergency room use is rising in expansion states because private healthcare providers refuse to accept below-cost reimbursements.

Q: Wyoming has one of the highest wind power potentials of any state in the U.S. As the Cowboy State’s gas and coal industries continue to flounder, how much emphasis would you like to place on wind and how else should we diversify our energy industry?

Halverson: Wyoming’s gas, oil and coal industries are not “floundering”—they are being killed. Even as markets are coming back, the federal government is depriving Wyoming of our ability to build schools, pay teachers, and meet the public safety expectations of our residents. Wind has its place on the broad energy spectrum, but it will not replace traditional fuels for many years to come. The power derived from fossil fuels has lifted whole countries out of poverty and drives the technology on which we rely 24/7/365. Wind energy is still a heavily subsidized test. It’s still expensive and unreliable. Five hundred turbines in the dry sagebrush of southwestern Wyoming worry me—one failed brake on one turbine, and the plains will go up in flames. If the world is going to transition from clean Wyoming coal, oil and natural gas it cannot be at the expense of Wyoming’s prosperity and safety.

Q: What Wyoming politico of the past or present do you admire most?

Halverson: United States Representative Cynthia Lummis. She is a woman of strong principles who has served our state since she was 24 years old. Representative Lummis reformed our state’s investment strategies as Treasurer, and she has been invited to speak internationally on her successes in that office. In Washington she has stood strong for our Constitution, particularly on the Article I Project. I hope her service to Wyoming does not end in January.

Q: Who are you voting for in the presidential election? Why? 

Halverson: I am Wyoming’s National Committeewoman to the Republican National Committee, so it is reasonable to assume that I will vote for my party’s nominee. The Democrat nominee’s vision for this country does not match mine, even if it only promises more of the past eight years.

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Marylee White-D

Q: What is your stance on the transfer of public lands and why?

White: I oppose any efforts to transfer federal public lands to the State of Wyoming. I think this ill-conceived notion promoted by the incumbent is a waste of time and money. The Wyoming constitution does not support claims that the federal government has illegally taken these lands from the state. The Attorney General’s office told the legislature that if it passes legislation, and then sues the feds to enforce it, it will not likely win. Regardless, they allocated $75,000 to study the issue. If Wyoming ever got past the Constitutional hurdle, the Forest Service and BLM lands would likely be sold off and there goes our access, our way of life, our heritage.

Q: Wyoming is No. 50 when it comes to providing the uninsured the chance to obtain health insurance, including single mothers who are disproportionately affected. What is your view on expanding Medicaid? 

White: Wyoming needs to expand Medicaid in the 2017 legislative session. It would provide access to health care for 20,000 Wyomingites. It would bring $134 million to Wyoming annually that would be spent in doctor offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health centers. This economic boost would stabilize services and inject tax dollars paid by us back into Wyoming communities. It could also bring down insurance costs for everyone by attracting more insurance providers to the state and increasing competition. Because lower-income individuals, on average, have poorer health status, when they are removed from the risk pool, insurance companies will find the Wyoming market more attractive.

Q: Wyoming has one of the highest wind power potentials of any state in the U.S. As the Cowboy State’s gas and coal industries continue to flounder, how much emphasis would you like to place on wind and how else should we diversify our energy industry?

White: I wholeheartedly support wind development in Wyoming. A legislative joint revenue committee recently killed a proposal to increase the state’s tax on wind energy, which was good news for the $12 billion worth of wind projects ready to begin construction. These new projects will generate hundreds of millions in tax revenue for the state. I think there is also more potential for solar energy development in Wyoming. I’m skeptical that the carbon capture research, in which the state has invested heavily, will lead to diversification, but I hope I’m wrong.

Q: What Wyoming politico of the past or present do you admire most?

White: Democrat Dave Freudenthal, our governor from 2003-2011, was a remarkable leader and an inspiration. He left office with an 80 percent approval rating. As a first-time candidate, he won an upset victory for his first term. He was re-elected in 2006 by the greatest percentage in the state’s history. By the end of his tenure, Wyoming was ranked as the “Best Run State in America” by 24/7 Wall St. Freudenthal’s approach to resource growth and management often put him in conflict with federal government regulation. Yet he worked effectively with the federal government to protect Wyoming’s interests such as getting protection for the Wyoming Range. Freudenthal focused on education, community-building, and resource preservation.

Q: Who are you voting for in the presidential election? Why? 

White: Hillary Clinton. I want to fix the many problems with the American Health Care Act rather than throw it out, and so does she. She has always been an advocate for children and families. She is the most qualified candidate. PJH

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