State Senate Candidate Responses: Does government have a responsibility to help an economy diversify?

(Gillette, Wyo.) Senate districts 1 and 23 in Campbell County have contested races this year.

As part of our goal here at County 17 of informing voters for the upcoming primaries, we are sending out unique questions for each candidate in those races to let you better know your candidates.

The primaries are Aug. 21.

Previous responses:

Why whould people elect you to represent them in the Wyoming Legislature?

How do you plan to balance the time requirements with your own career or life?

How will mineral taxes impact wyoming’s future?

How do you propose the legislature fund school construction?

How can the legislature address school funding?

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How would you resolve the issues with the Madison Water Supply Project?

What are your thoughts on economic development and diversification activities? Do you think they are necessary, why or why not? Do you have a vision for Campbell County and the State of Wyoming? How would you go about getting there? How would you go about funding it? Do you think government should be involved in economic development? Is it better to keep government out of economic development, or is some level of government involvement good and/or necessary? If government isn’t involved, who should be? How does it get funded? Does government have a responsibility to help an economy diversify? (limit 750 words)

Ogden Driskill (District 01)

Economic diversification is a must if Wyoming is to maintain our current culture and lifestyle.  My approach to diversification is this:

  • Government does not make jobs—unless they are government jobs which are a drag on taxpayers. Jobs are created by private industry.
  • Government involvement should be kept at a minimum. We do not need huge infusions of taxpayer dollars or huge promises of tax breaks etc. to bring businesses here. Loop roads, water and sewer systems and other critical infrastructure help create the ability for businesses and homes come to the town and become part of the tax base.  Often it is cost prohibitive for a city or county to provide essential infrastructure that helps bring in homes and businesses.
  • I do support government dollars helping cities, towns and counties build infrastructure.
  • The best way to create new business is for government to provide an environment that makes them want to come here to do business. This means lessening our burdensome regulations, keeping rules and laws as unrestrictive as possible. and providing stability in our government.
  • I am a supporter in local governments working closely with existing successful business to expand and create new jobs.
  • I have no problem with local (City, county) governments forming economic development groups and doing diversification in any way they see fit with local dollars and resources.
  • Campbell County has done a great job of creating the environment I am speaking of. Gillette College has educated hundreds and hundreds of graduates that work and live in Campbell County and surrounding Counties.  They have built the infrastructure that it takes to attract business and housing— Gillette Madison project, Southern Drive and many other loop roads, rec center, the list goes on and on.  Campbell County has been a leader in showing if you create the right environment that your local businesses will survive and thrive and new businesses and workers will want to live in a vibrant community with lots to do and a great educational system K-12 and through college.  This is the model the state should look to.

Judy McCullough (District 01)

Economic and development and diversification belong in the hands of volunteer groups such as Chambers of Commerce and in Campbell County’s case the Energy Capitol Economic Development.  And yes, those endeavors are very necessary. Endow and the Wyoming Business Council are two government entities that need to be ended permanently.  Government has no business in economic development, nor does it have a responsibility in a free country.  When government begins to fund private businesses, they pick winners and losers and mess up free enterprise.  It is unfair to boot.

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My vision for Campbell County and Wyoming is freedom.  Unshackled from Federal over reach, rules, regulations and mandates, and from state burdensome rules and regulations, businesses and companies should happily move to Wyoming and Campbell County to do business.  Taxes will need to stay low to help this.  As a Senator, I plan to work on getting us a more free economy.  That doesn’t mean all rules and regulations have to go.  The people of Campbell County and the state deserve protection from irresponsible companies.

Lenard D. Seely (District 01)

Candidate did not respond to questionnaire.

Jeff Raney (District 23)

(No photo provided.)

Candidate did not respond to this question.

Jeff Wasserburger (District 23)

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The state of Wyoming must have a store front for purposes of economic diversification and development. I have long supported economic development throughout our state and within our community.  I have testified three times for economic development projects in our community before the State Loan and Investments Board.  I will continue to make myself available to local businesses if, and when, they should need me to testify before the SLIB board.  I voted to support the Wyoming Business Council many years ago and I have always supported WBC during my career as a legislator.  I will continue to support it.  I have also supported the ENDOW project under the direction of the Governor’s office and hope to see it grow and push for economic diversification and development.

My vision for Campbell County is to see our population grow and thrive and believe that the best way to increase economic development within our community is to properly fund Gillette College.  Gillette College has numerous career-technical certifications that are crucial for our economy.  I strongly support tripling the size of the current nursing program to meet the needs of the silver tsunami that is facing our communities throughout Wyoming.  Government involvement is critical to the success of economic development.  The City of Gillette and Campbell County have linked up to develop land and infrastructure so that new businesses can move to our community.  I strongly support economic development in our community.

Originally from New Mexico, Killough began his career writing freelance for a weekly magazine in Albuquerque while completing his undergraduate degree. In addition to reporting on uranium mining in western New Mexico, he spent three years reporting in western North Dakota during the height of the oil boom. He can be reached at or 701-641-6603.