Albert Sommers announces intent to run for re-election to House District 20
by Albert Sommers media release
May 29, 2016
Hello Sublette County, I intend to run for re-election to House District 20, and am asking for your support. I have had the pleasure of serving Sublette County in the Wyoming House of Representatives for two terms (four years). Though HD 20 does not encompass all of Sublette County, I certainly look forward to input from all residents.
During my time in the Legislature I have served on the same two standing committees: Minerals, Business, and Economic Development; and Education. I have also served on multiple select committees dealing with educational issues, and one on digital privacy. The Minerals and Education committees address issues that affect nearly everyone in this county. I have steadfastly supported K12 education, and more local control of education. Education is the most important gift society provides to the people. Education is a great equalizer, and can help children from any background succeed in realizing the American dream. Wyoming has great educators and educational systems, and I hope to continue work on empowering local school boards and educators.
Wyoming’s state budget is heavily dependent upon the minerals industry. Declining state revenues generated from a battered minerals industry is going to be the greatest challenge to the Wyoming Legislature over the next two years. A combination of oversupply and federal policy shifts has created a toxic environment for the engines that run this state. The state budget was cut this last session, and the Governor has requested additional agency cuts of 8%. Cuts may increase to as much as 12% next session, depending upon commodity price projectionsover the next two years. These cuts will affect people across Wyoming, and hard decisions will have to be made. K12 education will likely not be immune from budget cuts, due to lower enrollment and fewer tax dollars, but there is a mandate in Wyoming’s Constitution to provide an equal and quality education. Because K12 education lost its primary capital construction funding source with the evaporation of coal lease bonus money, the Legislature will likely have to replace that funding source in order to comply with this constitutional mandate, and additional revenues sources are being looked at. Wyoming will need to combine budget cuts and savings drawdowns to weather this storm, while providing essential services toits citizens. Four years of experience with the state budget will help guide me through the shifting sands of our economic reality. Wyoming must continue to seek economic diversificationin all regions of the state, while realizing that our state engine still runs on coal, oil, and natural gas.
I have successfully passed bills in each of my four legislative sessions, as a prime sponsor, and have been a co-sponsor on many successful pieces of legislation. I try to bring a short list of personal bills to the sessions, because I believe legislators should self-regulate the workload they put on staff and fellow legislators. I do believe in these times of financial challenge that the House should refine its rules on number of bills each legislator can sponsor, by limiting each House member to three bills. I continue to examine issues brought forth by you folks, and try to direct pertinent issues to the appropriate committee or draft a bill in response. I have had the good fortune to be able to help county citizens navigate the bureaucracies of state agencies on several occasions.
Issues facing our county and state will change over time, and if elected I will continue to seek and articulate solutions to these challenges. I believe politicians at all levels need to maintain civility and work together to find solutions to the issues facing government and the people. By bringing common sense, hard work and integrity to the state legislature, I have gained support for issues of importance to Sublette County. I see the best government as that closest to the people. If elected I will continue to look for guidance from the leaders and elected bodies of Sublette County, but I will value the opinions of all county citizens.