A man from a small Wyoming town who has observed the legislature for 10 years is running for Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Republican Bill Winney, who has been a resident of Wyoming since 1978 and lives in Bondurant, Wyo., says his campaign is all about listening to people across the state. Winney has traveled to larger towns in the state like Cheyenne, Casper, Gillette, Laramie, and Sheridan. He says it’s important not to forget about smaller towns and to hear what people in them have to say. He has stopped in towns like Glendo, Wheatland, Arlington, Chugwater and other small towns along his way.

“You never know where good ideas will come from. You’ve got to be alert for them,” he says when asked why he stops at so many low population towns.

Winney estimates he has knocked on between 10,000 and 12,000 doors across the state so far, resulting in speaking to about 3,500 to 4,000 people door-to-door. Winney says going door-to-door and speaking to people all over the state is important for the role of State Superintendent.

“The Superintendent needs to travel around the state and talk with people, talk with parents,” he says. “One of the things I have heard knocking on doors all over the state is parents feel left out of the process.”

Winney adds that many if the parents he’s spoken with have made the decision to pull their kids from the public school system because they do not feel like their voices have been heard.

In addition, Winney says that his experience as a leader in the Navy on submarines and in other capacities gives him valuable experience for the role of Superintendent.

“The Superintendent needs to have worn the shoes of a teacher so they understand what teachers are dealing with and how teachers interact with students and how they interact with administrators,” he says.

Winney taught in the Navy for multiple years and says his role as an educator and leader always yielded positive results.

In addition, Winney’s wife is an educator. He says he has the benefit of having seen the variety of states and administrations she has worked with over the years of travelling for the Navy. He says this has helped him to see the good and the bad of education on a large level.

He says that his leadership style is more about motivating people to do things and less about making them. He adds that he wants to help lead people, not force them to do what is right.

He notes that he has observed the legislature acting more as a “super school board” in the past few years, something he says he would stop if elected.

Winney adds that he would like to implement more opportunities for teachers to move forward in their careers. He says that currently teachers do not have steps they can take to move forward.

“We need to have some system so that a teacher across a career has something to aspire to beyond longevity pay raises and cost of living pay raises and pay raises for advanced degrees.”

He says he has a variety of skills that will help him in the office if elected. He says he has leadership experience and knows how to motivate people, has worked with large budgets before, knows how the legislature works, and has knowledge of programs across the state.

Other republican candidates running against Winney in the Primary Election are Jillian Balow and Sheryl Lain. Democratic candidate Mike Ceballos is also running for the position.

For more information on Bill Winney, visit his website BillWinney.org.