Senate District 21 Candidates Discuss Benefits to Local Economic Drivers | State

SHERIDAN — The local primary election race for Wyoming’s Senate District 21 will serve as an indicator for two candidates of how they stack up against each other ahead of the general election, as both opponents run with separate party tickets.

Incumbent Bo Biteman, R-Parkman, will likely face Ranchester resident Mark Hansen, a Democrat, in the general election barring any successful written nominee.

Biteman served as a representative in House District 51 from 2017 to 2018 and voters elected him to Senate District 21 in 2019, completing his first term in the Senate this year.

Hansen has lived in Wyoming for 38 years, served in the military, and while he said he understood a Republican mindset having been raised on a farm, he signed up for the Democratic ticket because he believes in what the party advocates as a whole.

As Wyoming currently faces declines in its key economic drivers — energy, tourism, and agriculture, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other conditions — lawmakers need to focus on how to support the state’s largest industries at the national and local levels.

Biteman said his biggest goal in supporting Sheridan County and major industries in the state begins with fighting federal energy regulations.

“Oil and gas companies don’t have access to credit,” Biteman said. “I had a bill this session that would have dealt with the consumer protection side, but we also have to deal with it through the state treasurer’s office.”

By increasing drilling activity and allowing drilling on public lands, Biteman believes the strength of the energy sector will improve statewide and reduce the extremely high prices currently being faced by voters across the country. state, thereby also improving the state budget and rising inflation.

“There is no reason for oil to be at $120 a barrel and there is no drilling activity going on because generally a high price signal like this would signal everyone and their brother to start a drill and start drilling for oil, but that’s not happening,” he added. said Biteman.

Hansen said he supports all of the state’s major economic drivers, noting a strong tourism sector and agricultural sectors in parts of the state where the land allows for such success.

“I support all of this, tourism is great; we live in a wonderful place,” Hansen said. “Farming is what we do if you have a place where you can do it.”

Beyond typical ideas of what the agriculture industry comprises – farms and ranches – Hansen said he enjoys the idea of ​​other businesses benefiting from farmland, such as honey production in the River Valley. Tongue.

“I don’t even have any qualms about coming up with new industries,” Hansen said. “We need taxes for the state. I think a two-legged human being in the town of Sheridan who has a family and pays taxes for 20 years would bring in a lot more taxes once you put together a few more people than a big corporation, but I like the idea of ​​Commerce.”

Absentee voting began July 1 and continues until primary election day Aug. 16, when in-person voting and mail-in ballots will be accepted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ashleigh Snoozy joined The Sheridan Press in October 2016 as a reporter before taking on the role of editor in November 2018. She is originally from Colorado and graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles.