We need to Put Wyoming First and process more of our abundant raw goods and natural resources in-state instead of shipping them elsewhere for higher value processing. We stand to win a lot of jobs and economic rewards by doing this.
Here are just a few examples of where we can build on our existing industries:
1. Beef Processing and Marketing: Most of our cattle are shipped to places like Nebraska and Colorado to get processed, yet today’s modern plants create good middle-class jobs which should go to Wyomingites. Keeping our production in-state will also allow our ranchers to create a strong consumer brand for Wyoming steaks, allowing them to raise the price of their beef.
I’ll work with the USDA to fast track new processing facilities, expand FDA marketing programs that favor Wyoming (such as the National Organic Program), work closely with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association to support their current initiatives to export our beef, and make sure Federal labeling laws support the marketing of Wyoming beef.
2. Distillery/Spirits: We grow barley, corn, wheat, and sugar beets, which we send out of state for production. Given our access to fresh mountain water, and the cowboy image of Wyoming, we should expand our craft spirits industry—creating business opportunities and jobs for our smaller communities. Just like California created a brand around wine, we should work with companies like Backward Spirits of Casper, or Wyoming Whiskey of Kirby, to create a similar brand for Wyoming.
I’ll fight to get our spirits taxed competitively with wine, and end prohibition-era laws that penalize rural states with limited markets and protect states like California and New York—to create jobs and companies for our state, by Wyomingites.
3. Trona: Wyoming produces nearly all the trona in the United States. Trona is an ingredient in the production of glass, detergents, and pollution control. With the advancement of internet retail, we have an opportunity to take advantage of the explosion of branded consumer products that can be easily sold on the internet.
As your senator, I’ll help expedite approval of the Opportunity Zones established in Uinta, and Sweetwater county, and promote education of product opportunities, to expand jobs that take advantage of our trona resources.
4. Sheep/Wool: We are among the top five sheep producing states, and the number one based on quality. Yet nearly all of that raw wool is sent out of state to be turned into yarn or finished products.
Mountain Meadow Wool in Buffalo proves we can build upon the image of the rugged Rocky Mountain West, to spin yarn and manufacture finished products we can sell for a premium. Wyoming needs to market “Wyoming Wool,” and then manufacture products like blankets, horse rugs, saddle cloths, and sweaters – so that our sheep farmers can receive a premium for their wool, and we can create jobs for Wyomingites.
5. Wind Energy: We are one of the top wind-producing states in the country, but with few exceptions, all we do is sell electrons to other states. Wind technology requires the manufacture and transportation of enormous turbine components – from blades to towers to nacelles, and we have a transportation network that connects us to virtually every other wind-producing state.
Despite our trained workforce of electricians, we have allowed other states to dominate the service of wind components—whether it be gearbox refurbishment, electrical or component repair, or hub assembly. As your senator, when a wind project is proposed in Wyoming, before saying yes, I’ll be asking how many of those turbines will be serviced or built by Wyoming companies.
6. Industrial Hemp: Industrial hemp has been used to manufacture an estimated 25,000 products – including the pages of our Declaration of Independence and high-end bibles.
With most parts of Wyoming receiving greater than 15 inches of rain each year, our climate and resources are ideal for production, and then the manufacture of finished products like rope, clothing, sunscreen, and insulation. I’ll work to reverse our outdated 1937 law, allowing our farmers to grow this versatile product, and Wyoming entrepreneurs to turn it into finished goods.
These are just six examples that highlight how I plan to use our Senate seat not as a platform for my career, or to raise money from special interests, but to grab more value from our existing industries, and Put Wyoming First.