January 24, 2018

Just recently Weatherby, Inc. (a rifle, shotgun and ammunition manufacturing company) announced its plans to relocate to Sheridan, Wyoming. This comes on the heels of the company’s search to move out of California. Governor Mead, affiliated economic entities, legislators, and Sheridan College worked diligently and generously with Weatherby to make this happen. Congratulations on a job well done!

After I announced my candidacy for the 2018 Republican gubernatorial race I traveled to every incorporated town, 99, and some unincorporated towns, like Arvada, Spotted Horse, Bill and more, meeting Wyomingites and listening to their strong patriotism and concerns. Wyoming is unique. 

Wyoming has been long dependent (as much as 70 percent or more) on our natural resources, coal, oil, gas, and trona. These resources and associated businesses have been good to Wyoming. I am a businessman, part of my portfolio consists of buying coal, arranging and paying for rail freight to a destination in Crookston, MN where we installed a coal transload facility, thereby giving us the capability to market and sell coal in that region. The business is as strong today as it was when we developed that business almost 3 years ago. I love coal and the energy sector. As governor I will do everything in my power to protect Wyoming’s core strength.

Wyoming needs more than the energy sector. Wyoming has been complacent in boom times and almost panic stricken in bust times. Because of our complacency we have not placed enough effort in strengthening our economy. North Dakota has a stronger economy than Wyoming, as do surrounding states. In addition, Wyoming presently is not seeing the overall economic gains that is are now going on in the US. We need, and have, to make our economy the number one issue in our state.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wyoming’s available workforce has gone from approximately 297 thousand to roughly 292 thousand from June 2017 to November 2017 with available jobs going from 285 thousand to 280 thousand. This trend was on the decline before June and remains that way in the face of the increase in jobs in the energy sectors. The 4 percent unemployment rate economic indicator is not the strongest to be watching as it can be misleading. The unemployment rate is relative to the available workforce to the current active jobs. In other words, in our case, people are leaving our state to find opportunity while we are still retaining a somewhat low unemployment rating.

We need to change our mind set in Wyoming to achieve success. “One for all, all for one”, we can do it together.

There is low hanging fruit such as industrial hemp.  Industrial hemp became legal in the 2014 Farm Bill and subsequently legal in Wyoming in 2017.  Industrial hemp is not marijuana, I encourage you to research it.  Wyoming can grow, process, and manufacture industrial hemp products.  Thus, creating jobs and millions in revenue in a relative time.

We need to look at our resources developed within our state that are currently shipped out and find ways to layer added revenue within Wyoming for these sectors. Examples of these sectors are: agricultural products (beef, pork, sheep, crops), and the energy and mineral sectors (coal, oil, gas, trona), etc.

Wyoming continues to be a tax friendly state.  We need to aggressively and consistently go after new businesses to relocate or expand to our state, like Weatherby.  With the recent tax law changes, we will no doubt see increased expansion and/or relocation of corporations and small businesses around the country.

Regarding our business development entities within Wyoming, we have a vast network of entities, with overlap, that keeps growing. ENDOW being one of the most recent, which in essence is doubling down on the Wyoming Business Council. There are many more subsets of business development from combined state/federal, county, towns and cities. They are all vying for our tax dollars to entice, give away grants, fund, and improve our communities and state in an effort to stabilize, grow or bring in new business. Some have been in place for decades. The questions I will ask as a businessman and governor are: (1) Can we reorganize and streamline these organizations to be more effective and reduce costs?  (2) Do we have realistic goals in place for these organizations to have accountability and return on their investment, ROI?  (3) If so, can they be improved?  (4) Do we have a succinct, coordinated plan that will be effective in growing business and bringing the right businesses here?

I am a political outsider, a novice if you will. I am a businessman who cares deeply for our state and, more particularly, the people within our state. Sometimes being a novice, you see things that should change, while others who have been entrenched in the system accept things as the status quo.  I also know this, together there is nothing we can’t accomplish given common goals and direction.

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Dahlin For Governor.
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