State Representative Candidate Interviews By The Laramie Chamber Business Alliance
The following is an interview of State Representative Candidates initiated by the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance. Neither the Governmental Affairs Committee nor the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance endorse any candidate. They felt it was important to find if candidates were supportive of business.
This is directly from the minutes provided by the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance.
Attendance: Glenn Moniz, Mike Selmer, CJ Young, Charles Pelkey
1. Regarding the state’s Business Ready Communities program.
a. Do you support the Business Ready Communities program?
b. What are your general views of the use of state funds to attract businesses to Wyoming, and to Laramie in particular?
c. Are there some grants/loans that have been made through the BRC that you have concerns with, or are particularly supportive of?
d. Do you support the use of state funds for economic development generally?
Mike Selmer – The Wyoming Business Council has done good work. I support the use of state funds to attract businesses as long as it is an economically viable asset to the economy. The economy needs to be studied carefully. I support the fiscal responsible use of state funds. CJ Young – Yes, it is critical to encourage economic growth in Laramie and Albany County. I would let the legislators know the difference between money being spent at the University of Wyoming and the community. I would like to see economic growth and jobs come into the community.
Glenn Moniz – I support the Business Ready Community grant to attract new businesses. I draw the line based on the value and magnitude of the business.
Charles Pelkey – I support the concept of the Business Ready Communities program. I am concerned about the fiscal duty to protect state funds. I support every effort to attract businesses.
2. Do you support funding for local governments which is one-time in nature, or would you support increases in funding to local governments on an ongoing basis? The former can be considered “project” funding, while ongoing can be considered “operational” funding.
CJ Young – I support both as long as it is done in a fiscally responsible manner. I think funding for one time projects are important, especially for infrastructure and projects that have a great return on investment for the community. If the need is there and it will genuinely help the community, I will support ongoing funding.
Glenn Moniz – I support the grants and support the ongoing funding for our community.
Charles Pelkey – I support one time funding if it is a valid project. With ongoing funding I would be cautious and review it. If it is fiscally sound, I would support it.
Mike Selmer – Yes, I support one time funding on a project to project basis. Yes, I support ongoing funding as it is needed and is continually reexamined.
3. Do you support the Cirrus Sky Technology Park? Describe that position in some detail.
Glenn Moniz – Yes, it is important. It presents opportunities to attract data type and clean energy businesses.
Charles Pelkey – Yes, we need to provide opportunities for people to work.
Mike Selmer – Yes, it is key and important step in the development of Laramie. We need to have hi-tech ready infrastructure in order to attract hi-tech businesses
CJ Young – Yes, I think these are the types of jobs we would like to attract. We have the graduates here who can do this type of work. Let’s give them a place to stay. We have a growing community with educated people.4. Regarding our technology infrastructure. In particular cell service and internet speed. Wyoming has many areas where these services are lacking or unavailable. What is being done to address the current and future technology infrastructure?
4. Regarding our technology infrastructure. In particular cell service and internet speed. Wyoming has many areas where these services are lacking or unavailable. What is being done to address the current and future technology infrastructure?
Charles Pelkey – I do not see it as a fiscally sound investment for the smaller communities. Laramie is a significant community in the state. We have limitations. We need to focus on the larger communities. We need to recruit private investors and the state needs to provide incentives.
Mike Selmer – The challenges are extensive, but these critical. We need to drive with private funding and offer incentives.
CJ Young – Verizon has a monopoly in Wyoming for the cell service. The internet cable is so expensive to lay down for the capacity being used; its use is maxed out. .
Glenn Moniz – The governor is aware of the problem. The government does not belong in business. We need to offer incentives to businesses. It is difficult to provide these in a state a rural as we are.
5. What is the status of funding for Wyoming highways? Does WYDOT have enough financial resources to improve and properly maintain our highways?
Mike Selmer – I admire, encourage, and support the rainy day fund; however I do not think we need to double them. I think we need to invest in our infrastructure more consciously. I think the rainy day fund is efficient. I think the gas tax hurt those who could afford it the least. I supported it because we needed the money, but I do not support a huge increase in the gas tax.
CJ Young – I think they do a good job with what they are given. Roads are critical to Wyoming and need to be maintained. I do not like the idea of raising taxes, but in some sense we need the funds to pay for it.
Glenn Moniz – The gas tax gave WYDOT half of the funds they need for maintaining the roads. It helped but did not solve the problem. I am opposed to raising anymore taxes.
Charles Pelkey – If we raise fuel taxes it has a direct effect on local residents. If it is raised too high it will causes truckers to get their fuel at the next state. I think we may need to tap into the trust fund to make a small investment in our infrastructure. If not the revenue will decline when the infrastructure does.
6. There are more and more funding demands for healthcare, especially mental and substance abuse, nutrition and affordable housing. Should the state increase funding allocation to take care of this?
CJ Young – I feel that generally speaking the healthcare is something that has not been focused on enough. We need more funding for it and the government should be involved. We need to reevaluate our system. We are already paying for it; it’s just being shifted to different areas.
Glenn Moniz – There is a lot of waste. Once we identify the waste and consolidate our efforts I think we can focus more on this. Yes, I support this and think we need to find and efficient way to deal with this.
Charles Pelkey – We are not adequately addressing these issues. More money is being spent for less adequate treatment.
Mike Selmer – The national awareness has grown recently and I would like Wyoming to be a leader in getting rid of the stigma.