ALEXANDER MUROMCEW

Alex Muromcew

Alex Muromcew

Party: Republican

Years in Wyoming: 9

With a background in international finance, Alexander Muromcew said he comes from a “results-driven culture” that he believes will make him an effective legislator.

Most recently he served as managing director of the financial services firm TIAA, where he managed $2 billion in retirement assets. He said that experience taught him what it means to be relevant in the modern global economy.

He said he feels his party status will carry more weight in the Republican-majority House, which he said is important as the Legislature prepares to redraw the borders for congressional and state districts.

Noting Wyoming’s net population outflow, he hopes to help the state become a place that his children will someday want to return to.

“We need fresh perspectives and private-sector solutions that will diversify and broaden our county and state economies,” he said. “I care deeply about this community and can make a difference in Cheyenne.”

Top 3 most pressing issues facing your district:

1. Affordable housing

2. Traffic and infrastructure

3. Property tax assessments

Current state tax structure: Oppose — Our tax structure is dated. We are overly reliant on mineral royalties. We must re-examine our current structure and look at how other mineral states raise revenue. I am against a state income tax.

Lodging tax 60-40 split: Support — I believe that legislatively it would be very difficult in Cheyenne to change the 60-40 split. Instead, I would like to modify the language to give us more flexibility in how we spend the 60 percent.

What would be your approach to funding education in Wyoming?

First, I would make sure the Office of State Lands and Investment Board is maximizing revenue from its more than $2 billion of assets. These assets are dedicated to funding our schools.

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

We need to revisit Medicaid expansion. We all bear the cost of the uninsured, and the burden of treating the uninsured threatens our rural hospitals. Let’s have the federal government share the cost.

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

For state lands, I would work closely with the Office of State Lands and Investment Board to ensure that it is maximizing revenue for our schools. In the case of federal lands: “Public Lands in Public Hands.”

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ANDY SCHWARTZ

Andy Schwartz

Andy Schwartz

Party: Democrat

Years in Wyoming: 42

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, incumbent Rep. Andy Schwartz is fixated on solving the state’s $900 million structural deficit and stabilizing funding for critical services.

“We have to look at spending and revenues as one picture, and we tend to look at [them] as two,” Schwartz said. “It was clear during the last session that raising taxes or creating new taxes were not being considered.”

He said the Legislature needs to reconsider that approach to ensure funding for education, local governments and human services.

“These are things we have to be doing,” he said. “This is what the state government is there for, and we have to fight to make sure we keep doing that.”

As part of that push Schwartz wants to simplify the remarkably complex state budget to increase transparency and boost the public’s understanding of how tax dollars are spent.

Schwartz and his wife owned retail businesses on Town Square for decades, and he sat on the Teton County Board of County Commissioners for 12 years. He said his combination of experiences prepared him for the state Legislature, where he has served for four years.

Top 3 most pressing issues facing your district:

1. Funding education

2. Protection of public spaces

3. Local property taxes

Current state tax structure: Oppose — If Wyoming is to escape the boom-bust cycle the tax base must be broadened. I am in favor of imposing some form of corporate profit tax.

Lodging tax 60-40 split: Support — Realistically I believe the best opportunity to change the current statute should be focused on the definition of promotion.

What would be your approach to funding education in Wyoming?

Maintain current levels as much as possible while seeking efficiencies in operations. It is imperative to find new revenue streams to support it.

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

Medicaid expansion. Improving access to primary care in a large but low- population state is critical in lowering costs.

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

In general I support preserving open spaces and not having federal lands transferred to the state. There are specific cases, such as the transfer of the state parcel in Antelope Flats to Grand Teton National Park, where there is clear benefit.

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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