Wyoming Governor’s Race – Foster Friess

Wyoming Governor’s Race – an objective look at the main candidates.

This article is third of four, my attempt to look at each of the main candidates as objectively as I can. As I said in the first email, my wife and I are dedicated supporters of Harriet Hageman. Our personal regard for her does not enter into our evaluation of her opponents’ candidacies or hers. We look at record and policy, leaving out personal feelings.

After looking fairly, we conclude that there is no choice other than Harriet.

Please read on if you have the time. And please feel free to forward if you wish.


FOSTER FRIESS:

Mr. Friess is a brilliant financial innovator, a good and decent person who has used his fortune to support worthy causes and projects around the country and the world.

What could possibly be wrong with his candidacy? Simple: he does not know Wyoming, outside of Jackson. Until April of this year, Wyoming was flyover country for him.

What I say here is not criticism or condemnation, it’s fact.

I’m sure he’s learned a great deal about Wyoming in the past three months. However, prior to then, his focus for a decade and more has been on DC politics, DC affairs and politicians in other states. He supported the same people at the federal level we support, which we will always appreciate.

In Wyoming, many of you on this list joined in the difficult battles to stop Medicaid expansion. We tried to stop corrupt budgeting and contract management practices; to open all state government spending (every check) to public view. We tried to prevent creation of special protected classes in state law (the homosexual and other SOGI lobbies), to protect religious freedom, freedom of conscience and freedom of association. We tried to expose, slow or stop ruinous state spending and correct the structural budget deficit. We tried to elect strong constitutional conservatives (citizen legislators with servant’s hearts) to the legislature. We tried to change laws to give charter schools a level playing field.

We won some and lost some, but throughout it all, Mr. Friess never engaged.

In past years, here and in Arizona, Carleen & I have seen Mr. Friess many times at fundraisers for federal candidates we support too. Yet in his own home state, he gave no help in the ongoing efforts to elect true conservatives running for state legislature. A tiny majority of these good people controlling the House and Senate could have transformed state government, given time. But there have never been enough of them to change Cheyenne, to dismantle the “good ole boy” network (think Galeotos) that has Wyoming in such trouble today.

Yes, he used his fortune to do great things to help in the Jackson community, and perhaps elsewhere in Wyoming that we don’t know about. That does not change facts. As we engaged in political battle after battle, for causes which we knew he would support if he paid attention, he never weighed in or offered any assistance whatsoever.

After Mr. Friess announced for governor back in April, time and time again he has contacted friends and other people we know who are deeply knowledgeable about Wyoming issues. He asks their advice to help him identify the problems and recommend what to do. Yes, it’s smart of him to make those calls. He knows he doesn’t know. But what does this say about his understanding of our state?

It says his concerns about our concerns date back three months ago.

As governor, he would depend on dozens of advisers to explain the issues to him. Who would these advisers be? Would their advice be good or bad? Most important, would he know the difference before the results proved out?

Without innate knowledge which comes from direct personal experience working with the multiple tough problems Wyoming faces – most or all of which are new to him, or about which he might have a peripheral understanding at best – he cannot know fundamentally what is right for Wyoming.

These are not inconsequential worries.

We need a veteran who knows Wyoming in the governor’s office, not a well-meaning novice.

For my part, Mr. Friess’ newfound interest and lack of knowledge is not disqualifying, but makes him my distant second choice behind Harriet Hageman.

SIDE NOTE, TAYLOR HAYNES: as a supporter of Taylor Haynes in 2014, I feel obliged to comment on his candidacy. Much like Foster, Taylor was absent from all the battles we fought in Cheyenne and in state elections between 2015 and today. We could have used his help, but we did not get it. Taylor seems to believe that he will be governor or he will have no involvement in any state matter. Governor or private citizen, and nothing in between. Now he faces a legal challenge from the Attorney General and Secretary of State to his declaration that he is a resident of Wyoming, eligible to run for governor. The lawsuit is a serious matter. It is not political. Its resolution will come from the courts, not from claims that his primary opponents are telling lies about him. Unfortunately, the legal action comes after ballots have been printed and some early ballots have probably been voted for him. All I can say is that I’m sorry this has come to pass. It’s not good for Taylor or for our state. But it must be dealt with, no matter how unpleasant.

~ Dan Brophy

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