Campbell County Candidate Questionnaire: Roger Connett for State Senator for District 1

Roger Connett is a candidate for State Senator for District 1. (Roger Connett)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — County 17 has sent out a questionnaire to those running in the primary election in August. The following are the answers from Roger Connett, a candidate for State Senator for District 1.

1. Please introduce yourself and describe your educational and employment history. Please include your name and hometown and highlights of past Campbell County involvement.

I am Roger Connett, and I am running for Senate District 1.  I graduated from high school in Riverton, Wyoming and attend Casper College.  In 1979 I moved to Gillette to continue my mining career.  I worked in the mining industry for over 40 years, as an equipment operator and then into management at various levels including as a mine manager.  My career path changed when I accepted a position as the Western Regional Manager for a mining equipment company.  After a short period of time, I was promoted to their Customer Support Manager for the US and Mexico, where I oversaw multiple organizations and projects.  I have an extensive background in budgeting and budget management

I have served on many boards and commissions both at state and local levels.  Some that I served on include the Wyoming Mining Association Board of Directors, the State Unemployment Commission for over 7 years – Chairman for 2 years, the Northeast Wyoming Economic Development Commission, the Crook County Land Use Planning and Zoning Commission – Chairman for 6 years, Crook County Republican Party Chairman for over 6 years, President of the Sundance Chamber of Commerce for 2 years and an advisor on the Sundance Economic Development Commission.

2. Why have you decided to run for this office? 

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I believe that for far too long the voice of the people has been ignored and many of our legislators have represented their opinion rather than that of their constituents.  Wyoming is a very red state, but our Legislature is deep purple at the best.  They seem more interested in pursuing the national social justice agenda than representing our values and preserving our conservative culture.  The fairness in sports bill did not pass in the last session, but rather died in a drawer instead of being brought to the floor for a vote.  This is Wyoming and we couldn’t pass that bill, what a telling fact.

The legislature is full of individuals who know how to spend money, because we have been blessed with abundant revenue in the past, but those days are gone.  We need legislators who know how to rein in spending and set priorities, in other words those who understand fiscal responsibility.  Our state is going to be faced with difficult decisions in order to control spending and we need to demand accountability from all departments.  Increasing taxes instead of good budget management and fiscal responsibility should not be an option.

3. Compared with other candidates running in this election, why are you the best candidate for this position?

I believe I am the best candidate for this position because I will truly represent my constituents from Northeast Wyoming.  I have an extensive background in business management and budget management.  I know that it is time for us to work with the revenue that we take in and push back from federal funding, which always has strings attached.  Much of the money we accept from the federal government is spent managing the required programs that come along with it, the strings in other words.

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4. What is your vision for the future of your district? What, if any, new initiatives would you like to implement if elected? 

An important piece of business for our next legislature is to change the model used to assess property taxes.  We currently us a “Market Value” model, which means the county assessor evaluates the properties that have sold around you and re-appraises the value of your property.   You are then taxes on unrealized income, income that can only be realized by selling your home and most of us don’t want to sell.  We should look at an acquisition-based formula for determining taxes, where your property tax is based on what you paid for your property, with reasonable escalators. I have talked with many homeowners that are on a fixed income and they have said they may be forced into selling their homes because they cannot afford the taxes. This is not right; we must take action to correct this situation.

5. Is there anything else voters should know about you as they determine whom to vote for?

I believe in the Right to Life and have been endorsed by the Wyoming Right to Life, the 2nd Amendment, Family Values and Parental Rights, School Choice, no new taxes and smaller government.

Mary Stroka is the Community Reporter for County 17. She's new to Wyoming and has loved getting to know the area. She covers crime, education, faith, government, and policy for County 17. Feel free to contact her at mary@county17.com with your news tips and ideas.