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SHERIDAN — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Pete Gosar said Tuesday during a stop in Sheridan to rally supporters that he thinks having a Democratic governor working with a Republican Legislature produces a stronger, more well-balanced state.
“As a Democrat, and as a minority, I think you understand how to compromise in how you deal and work with folks. I think that’s an art that is a bit lost on a super majority,” Gosar told The Press following the meeting.
“Whenever there was a Democratic governor and a Republican Legislature, I think it worked better than a Republican governor and a Republican Legislature, and I think it’s the balance, and the ability to compromise, and the ability to have all points at the table. You get more perspective, you get better decisions, is what I believe, and I think that’s been missing the last four years,” Gosar added.
Gosar is running against Republican candidates Matt Mead, Cindy Hill and Taylor Haynes for the seat.
Approximately 20 people attended the gathering Tuesday and asked Gosar to elaborate on a variety of topics including Common Core education standards, Medicaid expansion, hunting and fishing access, energy development and the minimum wage.
• Common Core: Gosar supports the Common Core education standards. He thinks they have been misconstrued as having more control than they actually do. He said they are a basic set of standards that still allow Wyoming teachers to decide how best to educate in their classrooms. He also noted it would be costly to the state to eliminate the standards.
In a similar strain, Gosar said the Nest Generation Science Standards should not have been blocked from implementation by the Legislature, especially in the manner it was done, using a footnote in the budget in the last few days of the session. He said he would have used a line item veto to allow the standards to be implemented.
• Medicaid expansion: Gosar supports Medicaid expansion, which he said could help nearly 18,000 Wyoming residents obtain needed health insurance coverage and care. He said he does not understand why Mead has resisted the expansion until recently changing his mind to support it.
“Now it’s full speed ahead, and I’m not sure voters will support that,” Gosar said.
• Hunting and fishing access: Gosar spoke against recent budget cuts for the Game and Fish Department that eliminated youth education programs and limited fish stocking numbers, among other things. Gosar said he would like to improve hunting and fishing access by using “rainy day” funds to revive Game and Fish programs.
“Wyoming is well known for its hunting and fishing, and it’s reckless to not reinvest into that industry. I think it’s been reckless the last few years,” Gosar said.
Gosar said he thinks Wyoming needs to stop stashing money away just to stash it away, noting that he thinks an $8-10 billion rainy day fund is excessive.
He said he would like to see the state operate like a business by investing its resources back into its people and industries that are suffering from budget cuts and restraints even though there is money available.
Gosar said he would take the same approach of using reserve funds to eliminate the waiting list for people with developmental disabilities who are waiting to receive waivers to obtain services.
• Energy development: Gosar pointed out that he is the son of an oil man and that he supports energy development in the state. However, he said, development needs to include innovation by energy companies, college research programs and individuals to make sure Wyoming can adapt to future needs and federal regulations.
• Minimum wage: Gosar supports raising the minimum wage. He thinks doing so will help lift families out of poverty and stimulate the economy as more money is spent in Wyoming communities. He said he understands that raising the minimum wage may result in some job loss, but that the overall number of people helped outweighs that cost.
• Other issues: Gosar said he will work to close the wage gap between men and women in Wyoming, that he supports gay marriage, that he wants to repeal Senate File 104, which stripped the superintendent of public instruction of many of her duties, and that he supports legalizing medical marijuana.