SHERIDAN — David Dodson, a Wyoming investor and entrepreneur, announced Thursday morning that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso.
Though he describes himself as a “Reagan Republican,” and, if elected, said he plans to caucus with Republicans, Dodson will be running as an independent.
“I want to see the Republican Party return to where it was when it was a party that could get things done,” Dodson said. “I am a Republican, but I’m forcing this into the general election so all of Wyoming has a chance to decide who their next senator is.”
Dodson said he was motivated to enter the race because he felt that Wyoming’s representatives in Washington were not doing enough to address the state’s struggling economy.
“We fell to last place economically while John Barrasso has been our senator and last year we had the greatest percentage of people have to leave the state to find jobs,” Dodson said. “I decided I was tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching this happen because it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m not a career politician and I don’t plan to be a career politician, I just want to get in there and fight for Wyoming, because I don’t see anyone fighting for us.”
The claim that Wyoming is ranked last economically is based on the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States, which combines data on employment, mortgage delinquency, personal income, tax revenue, home prices and equity index.
Dodson is especially critical of the tax overhaul passed in December 2017. When Barrasso spoke at the Sheridan Rotary Club last week, he credited the tax bill with increasing wages in Wyoming.
“We’ve passed the largest tax relief bill in the history of this country,” Barrasso said last week. “And as a result, 90 percent of people in Wyoming are going to see a bigger pay check, because there are fewer deductions, and over 6,000 people have gotten bonuses or raises.”
Dodson said he does not buy that the tax overhaul will be an economic boon to the state.
“[Barrasso] is just wrong. That kind of tax relief drove the debt up another trillion dollars and gave most of it to people like me, the top 1 percent,” Dodson said. “What they did was, they gave a bunch of money to their donors and to special interests and threw 700 bucks at everyone else in Wyoming and waited for a miracle to happen. It’s not going to happen. You don’t spur the economy by going into debt, borrowing money from our children, and handing a bunch of money to rich people who are just going to put it in the bank.”
He went on to call the tax overhaul “spineless” and claimed it would not help the middle class. Dodson also said he believed the tax plan would put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid further at risk.
In addition to economic improvement, Dodson said, if elected, he would also focus on working cooperatively with Republicans and Democrats in Congress and fight for campaign finance reform.
Dodson said he believed the ideological polarization in Congress has resulted in gridlock, and that his background in business has prepared him to negotiate productively with other members of Congress.
“Everybody in the private sectors knows how to find compromises,” Dodson said. “Frankly, I think most Americans know how to work with their neighbors. I think the only people in America right now who don’t know how to work with their neighbors are the career Republican politicians and the career Democratic politicians.”
With regard to campaign finances, Dodson said he has two proposals to address issues with campaign financing.
The first would impose a two-term limit on members of Congress, which Dodson said he plans to adhere to whether or not his proposal is enacted.
“I don’t think being a senator or a congressman should be a lifetime appointment and I am going to make a solemn pledge to the people of Wyoming that I will not serve more than two terms,” Dodson said. “I’ll do everything I can while I’m in the Senate to pass legislation and rules that would require term limits for senators. And that would release senators from fundraising, and from being beholden to donors for their second term.”
Dodson’s second proposal would prevent members of Congress from fundraising while in office.
“Currently congressman spend four hours a day fundraising, and senators spend two hours a day; I think Wyoming deserves a full-time senator,” Dodson said. “I will not fundraise, and I will not collect money from anyone during my first term in office until six months before re-election. If somebody sends me a check, I’m going to send it back. And if I can’t get re-elected on my record, then I don’t deserve to be re-elected.”
Dodson lives in Jackson with his wife, Wendy Jacobs Dodson.
As a businessman, Dodson became the manager of several businesses using “search funds,” which investors use to acquire companies they plan to become the principal manager for. Between 1990 and 2004, Dodson was the CEO or Executive Chairman of five companies: Wind River Environmental, ADAP, Inc, Smith Alarm Systems, Inc, Paragon Systems, Inc, and Worldbridge Broadband Systems.
He is currently the registered agent of Futaleufu Manager, LLC, an investment advisory firm in Jackson. In the spring and fall, Dodson travels from his home to teach entrepreneurship classes at Stanford University, his alma mater.
(via the Sheridan Press)