Marti Halverson

Marti Halverson

Halverson

Party: Republican

Years in Wyoming: 22

Incumbent Rep. Marti Halverson was voted into office in 2012 and, having served six years, she decided to run again because she felt she could not waste her years of experience by walking away during a key transitional period for Wyoming.

Her overarching goal is to “represent the fiscal common sense constituents” of her district. She is concerned that Wyoming has the largest government per capita of any state, and she believes it could shrink while still providing residents the level of services they need.

“We are making headway,” she said, “[but] there is still a lot of work to do in this area.”

Halverson has vowed not to support any new or increased taxes. She said the state needs to “open the books” and find out where money is going now before raising more.

She retired from the durable medical device industry. After moving to Star Valley, Halverson served two terms on the Star Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees. In the state House she is vice-chairwoman of the Labor, Health and Social Services Committee.

Top 3 most pressing issues facing your district:

1. Taxes

2. Education

3. Public land management

Current state tax structure: Don't support or oppose — Ad valorem taxes due to the counties by the mineral industry should be paid more often than annually. I support moving the counties to the head of the line for taxes due during bankruptcy.

Lodging tax 60-40 split:  Don't support or oppose — If the renewal vote in Teton County (and Natrona County) passes, this may well come before the Legislature in 2019. Off-hand, I would think some county-specific flexibility would be in order.

What would be your approach to funding education in Wyoming?

I support the current K-12 funding model, which includes a lot of flexibility. The challenge faced by all 48 school districts is getting precious funds into the classroom. The administrators need some relief from the mandated state and federal reporting requirements that come with state and federal money. Wyoming can do much to scale back these demands. The “basket of goods” (state/federal curriculum requirements) needs to be re-examined. In 2018 we added computer science to the basket of goods but failed to take anything out. By failing to adjust the curriculum we have added to the teacher’s burden. This needs another look.

How do you plan to make health care more affordable for Wyoming citizens?

I would like to follow through on the discussions of the last few years on the subject of personal health savings accounts. The model is good, but we get pushback from insurers. Wyoming has made some headway in exempting certain plans from the Affordable Care Act mandates, which account for a large part of our high premium and out-of-pocket expenses. We have reauthorized the Wyoming plan for people with pre-existing conditions. We are considering applying for a 1332 waiver from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in order to develop some Wyoming-specific variations on the ACA mandates. I do not support Medicaid expansion in Wyoming — it undercuts the safety net for our truly vulnerable. Expansion still requires state money. Some expansion states are regretting and rethinking their decision to expand.

What is your philosophy on selling, transferring or exchanging state land? What is your stance on transferring federal lands to the state?

I support State Lands Director Bridget Hill when it comes to selling, transferring or exchanging state lands. It is important to remember that she must never fall below, or increase, the 3.6 million acres of state lands on the rolls. Her mandate is to obtain the highest and best use of our state lands for our schools and to keep our inventory at 3.6 million acres. I support U.S. Sen. Mike Lee’s bill to permit states to identify certain federal parcels within their borders for transfer. There is so much fear on this subject, driven by so much misinformation, that a discussion in this space is impossible. I encourage folks to call or email me.

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Jim Roscoe

Jim Roscoe

Roscoe

Party: Independent

Years in Wyoming: 48

A House District 22 representative from 2009 to 2013, Jim Roscoe worries about the increasing divisiveness of politics and so is running as an independent.

He said his bipartisan approach can forward the debate on controversial topics, in particular, tax reform.

“Somebody’s got to talk about it unless we want to go the way of Kansas,” he said,  referring to that state’s $1 billion deficit. “Politics have become so divisive everyone is arguing ideology and not getting anything done.”

While Wyoming has often kept taxes low for new industries like trona and lithium mining, Roscoe said it’s time to start taxing those industries just like any other mineral being extracted from the state. The additional tax revenue could then be used to fully fund education, health and family services.

Roscoe owns a construction company with offices in Teton and Sublette counties. During his two terms in the House he served on several committees, including the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee. He is currently on the advisory board for the Jackson Hole Land Trust and the board of 21st Century Heroes, a veteran’s help group.

Top 3 most pressing issues facing your district:

1. Education funding

2. Overcrowding

3. Chronic Wasting Disease in our wildlife

Current state tax structure: Oppose — The mineral tax structure, for one, needs to be looked at because the business world and markets are changing. Wyoming needs to change how its severance, royalties and ad valorem taxes are paid.

Lodging tax 60-40 split: Oppose — The state should allow counties to decide how to administer their own lodging tax.

What would be your approach to funding education in Wyoming?

Keep it at our current funding level by modernizing our funding stream. There is a proposal already in the House for this.

How do you plan to make health care more affordable for Wyoming citizens?

Look into opening up the Wyoming state employment pool to small business.

Look for a larger pool by expanding the reach of our insurance carriers.

I would push for Medicaid expansion in Wyoming.

What is your philosophy on selling, transferring or exchanging state land? What is your stance on transferring federal lands to the state?

I generally am opposed to selling state land, but feel it has to be dealt with on a piece-by-piece basis. Sometimes exchanges can be beneficial. I’m dead set against transferring federal land to the state. We can’t afford it and the people of Wyoming are overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

Cody Cottier covers town and state government. He grew up with a view of the Olympic Mountains, and after graduating Washington State University he traded it for a view of the Tetons. Odds are the mountains are where you’ll find him when not on deadline.

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