In coming weeks, politicians will be announcing their intention to run for office. Given the lost opportunities of the last four years, the most important decision the voters have this November is who’ll serve as governor in the coming four years.
This is the announcement I’d like to hear a prospective governor make.
“Today I am announcing my intention to run for Governor of Wyoming. These are times of critical challenges, requiring public service from people with vision.
“If elected, I will working tirelessly to restore the fortunes of the middle class. Strengthening Wyoming’s working families is the most critical challenge of the coming decade. The next governor has an opportunity to set a course to unprecedented economic growth.
“This goal is far too critical for us to pin our hopes on a dysfunctional Congress. The needs of our people are too important for us not to seize the initiative. Wyoming is in far too strong a fiscal position to wait for Washington to do what we can do for ourselves.
“I propose boosting the income of Wyoming’s working families, assure access to quality healthcare, a commitment to the education of their children, and the creation of new jobs rebuilding the state’s infrastructure.
“The state should immediately raise the minimum wage. Any adult with a high school diploma or equivalent is entitled to a livable wage. Young people must be assured that graduating from high school will be rewarded in Wyoming.
I also propose “The Equality State Paycheck Fairness Act,” placing the burden on employers, including state government, to demonstrate that gender wage disparity is justified by job duties.
“Livable wages will lift the future of hundreds of Wyoming families while boosting our economy as working people will have additional money to spend with local businesses, increasing sales tax revenues, and creating jobs.
“Second, my administration will expand Medicaid. 17,600 uninsured Wyoming people will have access to healthcare. While the federal government pays nearly all the costs of expansion, resulting revenues will create additional jobs in the healthcare and other sectors of the state’s economy.
“Wyoming will reap a fiscal reward of almost 50 million dollars over seven years. As more of our people are insured, there will be additional savings. As much as 40 million dollars a year can be cut from the mental health budget as people who need those services become insured. We will comb the budget for additional savings as insurance coverage replaces programs the state funds to help the uninsured. Wyoming taxpayers should expect total savings of as much as 50 million dollars a year.
“Our commitment to public health won’t stop there. I propose increasing the tobacco tax as the means for reducing tobacco use especially among youth. The legislature hasn’t increased that tax for more than a decade. It is now the 10th lowest in the nation, only a little above tobacco taxes imposed in tobacco-producing states.
“A doubling of the tax would place Wyoming in the middle, raise approximately 20 million dollars a year, and research shows it would reduce tobacco-use rates significantly.
“Finally, the surest way to secure the future of individuals, families, communities, and our state is to make a promise that an education free of crippling debt will be available to every Wyoming high school graduate. We’ll fulfill the 124 year-old promise of Wyoming’s Constitution that a higher education be, as its framers wrote, “as free as possible.”
“The ‘Healthier Wyoming Dividend’ gained through expanding Medicaid and increasing tobacco taxes provides Wyoming an opportunity to fulfill that promise with an unparalleled commitment to higher education while providing ample funds to create hundreds of new jobs rebuilding the roads and bridges that connect us to one another and the communication system that connects us to the world.
“Livable wages, ending the gender pay gap, a commitment to public health, assuring educational opportunity, and rebuilding Wyoming; Wyoming must do all of this in the coming years. We can if the voters make the right choice in November!”