Kenneth D. Chestek, a 62-year-old University of Wyoming law professor, will run for a seat in the Wyoming Legislature representing the 46th House District.

Chestek, a lifelong Democrat, has never held public office. But he says he was inspired to run by a “systemic problem” on the revenue side of the state budget that looks to repeat itself for several years.

“The only response that I was seeing out of the Legislature was find ways to cut, cut, cut, and I didn’t see a lot of creative thinking about ways to work on the revenue side – other than take away from the rainy day fund,” says Chestek.

Chestek says he wants to see Wyoming invest more in infrastructure for green energy, to both move away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy sources and diversify the state’s revenue streams.

“It’s one thing to sit around at coffee hour after church and talk about it, and solve the world’s problems over a cup of coffee,” says Chestek. “But it’s a different thing to get into the arena and start to try and advocate for change from inside.”

“And that’s what I decided I wanted to do,” says Chestek.

Chestek earned a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1975 before graduating cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1979. He practiced law in Pennsylvania for 21 years, including 18 years as chief civil counsel to Erie County, Pennsylvania.

Chestek also served as president of the Legal Writing Institute – an organization of more than 2700 legal writing professionals worldwide – from 2010 to 2012.

Chestek calls the Wyoming Legislature’s decision not to expand Medicaid in the state “shortsighted.”
“There’s a couple of reasons why the Legislature should have expanded Medicare, one of which is simple fiscal reality,” says Chestek.

“To me, the more important issue was the moral issue,” says Chestek.

Chestek also wants to see about enlisting Wyoming in the fight to overturn Citizens United, a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing unlimited election spending by individuals and corporations.

“It drowns out the voices of ordinary citizens,” says Chestek. “It’s kind of ironic the case is called Citizens United when actually, it totally oppresses the citizens.”

Chestek says he wants the Wyoming Legislature to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning Citizens United.