GILLETTE, Wyo. — County 17 has sent out a questionnaire to those running in the primary election in August. The following is the response from Christopher R. Knapp, the incumbent running for State Representative for District 53.
I am a fourth generation Wyoming resident. At age 53, I am a fiscal conservative, a strong believer of freedoms, the right to life and limited government.
Experience and occupation:
Occupation: Managing Member/ Rocky Mountain Business Equipment LLC 20 years
Responsibilities include overall management of the company, sales, administration and operations
President/ VISTA Leasing Co. Inc. 20 years
Responsibilities include overall management of the company, funding, finance, administration and operations.
The 12 years serving as Campbell County Commissioner really prepared me to learn a wide range of issues and become educated so that decisions can be made. Moving onto the State level in the Wyoming House is very similar. The State sessions produce hundreds of bills to become familiar with and vote on. It also gave me the responsibility to limit government in both good times and bad. I helped to create reserve accounts, depreciation and maintenance set aside for every County building and create fleet programs to ensure emergency equipment replacement and tracking. Government should be limited and continually be mindful of any expansion or overreach.
The committee I am appointed is Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources. I do sit in on other committee meetings to listen to testimony on various issues. While voting my principles it is important to remain open, educated, and accountable to the citizens of my District and to all Wyoming citizens to find solutions to problems facing our state.
I am ranked by legislative watch groups as a conservative Scoring highly conservative with the budget as well as other important bills voted on by the Wyoming State House.
CAMPBELL COUNTY COMMISSIONER 2000-2012 Elected to three 4 year terms also serving as Chairman. Responsibilities included budgeting, planning, working with other boards and elected officials. Served on individually or as representative of the County to over 30 Boards and committees for the City, County and Joint Powers Boards (Fire Dept and Land Board)
State of Wyoming House of Representative Appointment House: District 53, 2020-Present
2021 Co-Sponsored Legislation
Wyoming business council-promotion of low taxes.
Human heartbeat protection act.
Coal fired generation facility closures-litigation funding.
Minor sex traffic victims-liability.
Electricity production standard.
Ban on sanctuary cities and counties.
Coal fired power plant closure moratorium.
Religious freedom restoration act.
COVID-19 discriminatory practices-prohibition-2.
COVID-19 discriminatory practices-prohibition.
2022 Co-Sponsored Legislation
County tax protest-filing date.
Severance tax reduction-coal.
Mine reclamation-disposal of materials.
Human life equality-prohibiting discriminatory abortions.
International forums through State Department Sponsored ACYPL has allowed interaction with elected and government officials from South Korea, Japan, and Australia.
Why are you running?
I am running for election because I feel the Country has reached a crossroads. Either we defend the Constitution and what it represents, or we continue down the path of socialism. I have taken an oath five times to support, obey and defend the Constitution and take that oath very seriously. I will continue to serve if called upon, and if the citizens of my District feel I am effective. The State of Wyoming is generally a conservative state, yet we have fallen to mandates, government interference in freedoms and the interference in freedom of commerce for the resources of our state. I will continue to fight for our citizens using the constitution and our Wyoming constitution as well as legislation.
What is something you would like to change if elected?
I would support legislation for medical freedom to include:
- Privacy of Medical Information- Information should only reside in one location and be controlled for release by the individual only. Once information access is given, it can be sealed by the individual again.
- The right to treatment is between the individual and the doctor as supported by the Wyoming Constitution. No medication or treatment should be mandated or restricted by government unless it is formally banned as an illegal substance
- Non-discrimination: No treatment or non-treatment would be discriminated against.
- Visitation of loved ones would be a right afforded to families
Freedom of Energy Use and Commerce
- The right of choice for energy should not be mandated to the consumer or provider
- The free commerce of energy resources, commodities, or flow from state to state or to international ports should be protected
- No federal regulation or mandate should be considered especially when only penalizing one sector with environmental standards. Wyoming must protect its right to use and market the state’s resources
- Ensure financial institutions do not discriminate
Protection of 2nd Amendment Rights as Afforded by God and the Constitution
- Protection of unconstitutional mandates by the federal government
- Availability of ammunition through contracted services, like the plant just shut down by the federal government which allowed for private sales as well.
- Funding the filings and litigation needed to sue the federal government for unconstitutional actions.
What are the biggest issues facing the state and how would you address them?
The State of Wyoming has faced several challenges in recent years. It is evident that Wyoming can and must continue to fight for our abundant resources.
We must rebrand ourselves as an energy producing state using all resources. Coal, Oil, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Wind and Solar. We have a blended portfolio of mixed energy and should focus towards being a provider of energy versus shipping commodities down the road. We should be a regional power in the marketplace and fight to preserve what has been the backbone and safety to the grid.
Wyoming’s future will depend on this marketing transition. Our energy is needed by this country, and we must ensure that false narratives and hand picked winners and losers in the sector do not jeopardize the full resources Wyoming brings to the table.
Wyoming has done a tremendous job growing one of our largest industries and revenue sources during the pandemic and continues to be a strong sector of our economy.
We must balance and control the areas and number of people using our beautiful trails and wildlife areas making sure all our communities are marketed utilized. We must also ensure that the revenue generated not only goes back into the industry but that it becomes one of the main sources of funding for the needs of the state.
The legislature must take the time and effort to work with the State Superintendent, the Wyoming State School Board Association, parents and teachers to define education and what programs are needed. Then determine the cost and funding mechanism long term is necessary. Specific revenue streams already in place should be earmarked specifically for education and the local boards agreement that their budget is both equitable and fair to every student.
Wyoming must protect its other industries as well. As we see farm and ranch land continuously hit with regulations from the federal government with everything from water to endangered species. Wyoming’s ability to support private landowners from being overwhelmed by federal overreach will continue to be a priority.
What’s your stance on the prospect of Medicaid expansion in Wyoming?
Medicaid is a broken system. Over 40% of doctors will not take Medicaid. Wyoming has yet to figure out how to pay for the segment not covered by Medicaid but falling through the cracks when it comes to having affordable premiums. The labor market is in such need of employees most offer benefits, even part time positions. While the federal government offers a one time buy in at attractive percentages, those funds are not guaranteed, and the state would either end up with huge liabilities or be forced to stop coverage. It goes back to a fiscal responsibility of starting a program that cannot be sustained.
The federal government is also using money it does not have. This causes inflation which will continue to drive up prices in health care. It is a continuous cycle requiring infusions of money to sustain an entirely broken system. Government involvement in a for profit industry increases costs, limits access and enslaves patients. While I agree that access and costs continue to leave a population both at risk and in need, I am not convinced that an expansion of a failed system is the answer. Wyoming will continue to explore its own solutions.
The citizens of House District 53 can count on my principles. I will always educate myself on issues, reaching out to listen to opinions and testimony of both experts and citizens. I will hold true to principle while weighing all facts and benefits to the citizens in my district and in Wyoming. The core however does not change. I am a fiscal conservative, I will defend our freedoms and the constitution, and I will do my best to serve and represent the people, our State, and America.