GILLETTE, Wyo. — Election season is well underway and County 17 has sent a list of questions to each candidate who has filed to run for office in contested races.
These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. All candidate responses submitted to County 17 are republished as they are received. County 17 solely made minor edits to the responses, for clarity. Minor edits may include correcting punctuation, capitalization or spelling.
Below, get to know Rep. Chris Knapp, who is the incumbent candidate running for the House District 53 seat.
- Please introduce yourself and describe your educational and employment history. Please include your name and hometown along with highlights of your past involvement in the Campbell County community.
I am a fourth generation Wyoming resident. 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 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
2022-House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife & Cultural Resources
2022-NCSL – Natural Resources and Infrastructure
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.
2. What is your position on abortion? Under which circumstances do you believe it should be legal? What should enforcement of abortion laws look like? Should minors need parental consent to acquire an abortion? Why or why not? What do you want parents facing difficult pregnancy circumstances to know?
I support the right to life and view the embryo or fetus as a separate human being with all rights and privileges to live and to be protected by law.
I believe that Abortion laws are to be determined by the States. Wyoming has made it illegal for an abortion to take place after an embryo or fetus has reached viability. An abortion shall not be performed except when necessary to preserve the woman from a serious risk of death or of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including any psychological or emotional conditions, or the pregnancy is the result of incest as defined by W.S. 6-4-402 or sexual assault as defined by W.S. 6-2-301.
3. If you’re elected, what’s on your bucket list as a state representative?
Transparency in government
- Ensure the financial health of Wyoming is easy to read, understand and question by the public
- Move Wyoming to consolidated savings and expenditure accounts
- Support the move to an annual cash-based budgeting
- Simplify and solidify educational funding and move towards agreement on the basket of good
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 the 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, Resources 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 against the mineral industry, oil, or gas
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.
4. Should the seat you seek be subject to term limits? Why or why not? If so, what kind of term limits would be appropriate?
I would support a constitutional amendment to let the citizens vote and decide if term limits are the answer. Term limits are imposed when we as citizens exercise our right to vote. The most recent election is an example of that. The voters of Wyoming took their congressional seat back from the occupant and elected a new member to the House of Representatives. We are a volunteer legislature, one of very few. People who participate have other jobs, family to attend to, businesses to run. They are not meant to make the legislature a career or livelihood. I support term limits going to a constitutional vote of and by the people.
5. What is your position on legalizing and regulating the use of cannabis by adults?
I am opposed to legalizing cannabis. After sitting in on testimony in committees I am concerned with the fallout of services that come with the legalization of drugs.
6. What criminal justice reforms are appropriate for Wyoming that you believe you can influence? Please specifically address domestic violence and mental health.
The State of Wyoming has some of the most stringent domestic violence laws when adhered to by law enforcement. These include arrest for simple assault and battery, household strangulation and reckless endangerment.
I do believe in strengthening stalking laws with more severe penalties and establishing a lifetime registry for serial and severe cases of sexual assault.
Mental Health services that are required by the state courts in the cases of juveniles should be compensated at a full and fair rate. More needs to be done to fulfill the capability of both private and public mental health services. Reimbursement rates to private or nonprofit contract providers are woefully inadequate and Title 25 is often misused and should be negotiated with public service providers to ensure enough funds for citizens facing mental health issues and in danger of self-harm or harm to others.
7. Is there an issue that you would never budge on, regardless of others’ perspectives? If you had to collaborate with another legislator who didn’t hold that position, what strategies would you consider using to achieve your goals? How would you help constituents who hold alternative viewpoints feel heard?
I have always believed that if you let people know your principles, and listen, educate, debate and influence, they will know whether you are representing them or not. We are a republic, not a democracy. People chose you to represent them based on these key abilities. I believe in God-given freedoms supported by the Constitution. I will not waver from my principles, while still offering pragmatic solutions to our problems.
One of the key jobs of legislating is education. Education of us, by listening to constituents and experts. Education by researching and asking questions. Education to our fellow legislators and to the Governor on issues and bills we wish to move forward on.
Goals are obtained through trust. Trust from your voters that you are representing them. Trust from fellow legislators that you are a principled person who believes in bettering the lives of Wyoming citizens and using facts to make your point.
8. Compared with other candidates running in this election, why are you the best candidate for this position?
I have reviewable and accountable experience for voters to consider. Fiscal responsibility, supporting freedoms like the first and second amendments, medical privacy, and defending Wyoming resources such as energy, tourism, and agriculture. We are a conservative state with conservative principles. My votes and my principles reflect that.
As a commissioner for 12 years, I helped to develop maintenance reserves for replacement and repair of roads, building and fleets while revamping and consolidating to reduce costs. In the legislature I have co-sponsored tax reduction, voted for voter ID law, defended gun rights and helped Wyoming for fight unconstitutional mandates.
I am rated as conservative or had A+ ratings by such groups as WYORhino, Wyoming Right to Life, EvidenceBasedWyoming, Family Policy Alliance and Gun Owners of America.