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Wyoming Governor Candidate, Taylor Haynes, Meets With Voters

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wyoming governor candidate Taylor Haynes meets with voters
By Joel Funk, Wyoming Tribune Eagle 8 hrs ago

Wyoming Republican candidate for governor Taylor Haynes of Laramie hosted a town hall meeting Wednesday, April25, 2018, in Cheyenne at Laramie County Community College. Haynes, a self-described constitutionalist conservative, spoke on his vision for K-12 education, management of state lands, state government spending and more. Joel Funk/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – What differentiates Taylor Haynes from the other six candidates to be Wyoming’s  governor, asked Nikki Malcom during a town hall event Wednesday in Cheyenne.

First of all, he’s not a lawyer, Haynes said to widespread applause in the audience. But beyond that, Haynes, a self-described “constitutionalist conservative,” credits himself with being the first candidate for governor in modern Wyoming history committed to “making the Constitution and state sovereignty a safe platform.”

It’s a sentiment Haynes said he sees among other candidates in the race to be Wyoming’s next top executive. But they are only jumping on his bandwagon, Haynes said.

“Everybody is singing off my song sheet, but they don’t have my voice,” Haynes said.

With several candidates to choose from in the GOP primary battle, Haynes is working to make sure he stands out in the crowd,touting that he has more experience in free market enterprise than his competitors.

Part of that effort included a town hall at Laramie County Community College on Wednesday evening in Cheyenne.

Cheyenne resident Joe Hardy said he was frustrated recently with the amount he paid to register a relatively older vehicle,alluding to the Wyoming Legislature’s move in 2017 to double fees for driver’s licenses and vehicle registration.

“It’s all because you have a Legislature that can’t control its spending,” Hardy said.

It was a measure meant to remove a $25 million general fund allocation to the Wyoming Department of Transportation for road and bridge maintenance. It was the first time the fees had been raised in decades and, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, still
means Wyoming’s fees are comparatively low.

But Haynes said Wyoming was financially well-positioned to handle government expenditures even before the WYDOT fee increases. He said changes would need to take place with him at the executive helm of state government.

Haynes used Hardy’s question as a launch pad to many of his headline policy positions. “The farther we climb up the hill, the farther we fall,” Haynes said.
Wyoming, which relies on mining for around 70 percent of its income, is facing a budget crisis following a 2014 drop in commodity prices. It’s a classic case of the perennial boom-and-bust cycles that have left the Legislature facing down a gap in the hundreds of millions to pay for the services it’s committed to providing.

An income tax, Haynes said, is a buzz creeping around the Legislature. But if he’s elected governor, Haynes said there’s no way that will become a reality. In addition, he said increases in fees, the cost of college for Wyoming residents and other potential hikes as a part of revenue-generating measures would stop with him.

Haynes’ “pipe dream” is to see Wyoming take over management of all public lands now under the purview of the federal government. This, he said, would allow Wyoming to generate “at least $1 billion” in state revenue.

Somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of that money, he said, would be put in a “multiple-use trust fund” that would allow Wyoming to avoid increases in what its citizens pay for their services.

Education, perhaps the most daunting single fiscal issue going forward, would also be transformed in a Haynes administration, he said. A voucher system, he said, would be put in place that would essentially upend the state’s current education model, which he estimates would reduce the budget in a transformative way.

It’s a competitive road ahead for Haynes with a busy primary field that showed palatable widespread support for Wyoming Treasurer Mark Gordon, Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman and Cheyenne businessman Sam Galeotos during the State Republican Party Convention in Laramie last weekend.

However, Haynes appeared undaunted in Cheyenne on Wednesday. In 2014, Haynes came in second in the GOP gubernatorial primary behind Gov. Matt Mead, garnering just more than 32 percent of the vote.

Joel Funk
Joel Funk is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at or 307-633-3124. Follow him on Twitter at @jmacfunk

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