SHERIDAN — Cyrus Western has announced his intention to run for the House District 51 seat currently held by Rep. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester.
Western attended school in Sheridan County School Districts 1 and 2 before attending college in Pennsylvania. He later worked for U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, state Rep. Mark Kinner and returned to the Sheridan area about one year ago.
He now works for oil and gas company Frontier Royalties.
In an announcement video posted to Facebook earlier this week, Western emphasized his conservative values and his local ties.
“I have a debt to repay to Wyoming,” he said. “I’ve used our schools, I’ve used our infrastructure and our health care.”
In an interview with The Sheridan Press earlier this month, Western noted that he’s running because it’s something he’s always wanted to do and he feels a strong draw to serve the community that raised him.
Western expressed support for legislation that would make projects like the Tongue River Valley natural gas pipeline easier for communities.
He also said the best way to handle the budget deficits faced by the state is to approach cuts with a scalpel and promote new projects that could bring jobs and revenue to the state. He specifically pointed to the Choke Cherry Sierra Madre wind farm and wind tax legislation that discourages such projects.
“It’s not a zero-sum situation with wind and coal,” Western said, adding that he’d hate to Wyoming left out of the wind energy market.
He also voiced support for ENDOW — Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming — which is meant to coordinate and expand efforts to diversify the state’s economy. Biteman, in contrast, has spoken out against the formation of ENDOW.
On social issues, Western acknowledged the state’s “live and let live” attitude.
“We need to hold onto our rugged individualism, but adapt to the forces of change,” Western said. “We need to position ourselves for what’s to come while maintaining our conservative values.”
Western plans to host an official announcement event at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Best Western Sheridan Center.
Biteman, who unseated longtime legislator Rosie Berger last year, has said he plans to seek re-election. He recently hosted a town hall meeting at which he met with constituents and discussed the upcoming legislative session. He evoked applause from attendees when he emphasized his position against raising taxes on Wyoming residents until budget cuts have been implemented and the state’s savings have been utilized effectively.