Gosar touts experience in contest for governor
By Thomas Dewell, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: June 25, 2010
Pete Gosar has a range of life experiences and a small-business background that would help him get things done if elected governor of Wyoming, the candidate said Thursday on a campaign stop in Jackson.
Gosar, 42, of Laramie, is competing for the Democratic nomination for the governor’s seat.
He was raised in Pinedale, and his father worked in the oil fields. Gosar attended the University of Wyoming, where he earned a scholarship as a walk-on outside linebacker to the football team.
Gosar operates a Laramie-based business that manages private planes and pilots, and he also works for the Wyoming Department of Transportation as a pilot himself, ferrying work crews, the governor and other officials around the state.
He worked as a teacher in Pinedale.
“I understand the trials and tribulations of the everyday teacher,” Gosar said. “My dad worked in the oil field. I thought somebody with my background, a working perspective, could address the issues that needed to be addressed.”
Gosar saw an opening as candidates, in his opinion, were focused on federal and national politics. He wants to focus debate on state issues. Gosar has no previous political experience.
“I hope to get issues moved forward,” Gosar said. “There are things that need to be done. I think we need to do a little less posturing and a little more problem solving.”
In the Aug. 17 Democratic primary, Gosar will face Teton County resident Leslie Petersen as well as Al Hamburg, of Torrington, and Chris L. Zachary and Rex Wilde, both of Cheyenne.
Growing up in Pinedale, Gosar saw firsthand the effects of economic boom-bust cycles. To keep such swings from affecting the state, Gosar suggests Wyoming change the way it collects severance taxes from the extraction industry.
Tax rates should increase as prices increase, he said. This plan, modeled after one employed in Alaska, could mean more money for the state to work with when the economy goes down.
Oil and gas companies working in the state have made strides to have less impact on the land and atmosphere in recent years, but they need to continue to improve, he said. There is a way to extract resources while protecting the environment, he said.
On wolves, he said Wyoming has to plan for living with the population. Management efforts should be turned over to the biologists at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, professionals who know how to manage animal populations, he said.
“For too long, the wolf has been viewed incorrectly,” Gosar said. “I view it as an asset to the state, but one that needs to be managed.”
Gosar said access to public lands is important to him because he grew up hunting and fishing in and around Pinedale. He wants to maintain or improve access for Wyoming citizens.
On public education, Gosar said the current state standardized test turned into an endurance test and didn’t get “buy-in” from all students. Gosar favors tests that measure student progress during the year and give teachers immediate feedback so they can adjust their efforts during the school year.
Tests should also give school administrators the information they need to make decisions about and help develop teachers, the candidate said.