Ted Davis will campaign to represent House District #1 at the upcoming elections. A firm believer that those who campaign as Republicans should stand for the party’s values, Davis hopes to offer voters representation that supports grassroot contributions to party policy.
“I originally intended to run for County Commissioner but, in the process of watching candidates sign up for various positions, I got to looking at this House race and the kind of representation I felt that our House District needed in Cheyenne,” he says.
“I thought the candidates who had signed up for it already wouldn’t represent the Republican Party platforms in the same way that I would. I’ve worked with both candidates and like them, but I don’t feel that they would represent the House District in the same way.”
Davis is a staunch advocate of the Republican Party’s platforms and approach to governance, he says, even to the point of questioning some of the Legislature’s recent actions. He believes that the party’s platforms closely match the needs of this House District.
“When you think about, for example, multiple use on federal lands, we are very supportive of that. Things like the Bearlodge mining project would be very much something I support because it’s another use of federal lands,” he explains.
“Grazing, timbering, recreation – all those things are traditional multiple use activities that we do. I would support continuing those and include mineral, oil and gas, uranium development and so on, because that’s part of our platform and I think it’s important.”
Davis would support platform-oriented ideas, he says, such as small government and low taxation. The recent fuel tax increase is something he has found frustrating, as an example.
“To find out in the same year that we have a large surplus of revenue is a little galling for a low-tax Republican,” Davis says.
“We have a couple of places in our platforms where we mention that we believe in minimal taxation. Then to see taxes passed by a predominantly Republican Legislature is kind of tough.”
In general, Davis advocates the idea of candidates running as Republicans voting and acting like Republicans when they get to the Legislature.
“A great example of that has been Mark Semlek, who has been an amazing representation of Republican values for House District #1. I would like to continue that kind of representation,” he says.
Davis believes in the party’s values as presented through the platforms, not necessarily as they have been legislated, he says. Because the party asks people to get involved at the local level to bring their ideas into the political arena, Davis is of the opinion that these contributions should be supported.
“There should be some pretty intense support for that work, or at least acknowledgement of the work that has been done,” he explains.
“I feel like too many of those grassroots people have been disenfranchised. Even though they’ve been active, their voice hasn’t carried the weight that it should in Cheyenne.”
Davis moved to Wyoming from Wisconsin in 1972, arriving in Sundance in 1977 and graduating high school in 1981. He now lives in Sundance with wife Sherri and has three children: Andrew, 10, Elizabeth, 12 and Earl Frank Collier, whom Davis says he “borrowed” from Jenny Gilbertson.
“I tell people that moving here was like dying and going to Heaven. It’s wide open and free and one of the things I like about Wyoming is the independence and freedom of movement and space,” he says.
“I’ve worked primarily in the timber industry, but I have served as a Precinct Committeeman on the south side of Sundance and I have served on the City Council here in Sundance.”
While serving on the city council, he worked on the community assessment that he says is still used today to find new grant-writing and community promotional opportunities.
“That carried over into some economic development activities with a volunteer group here in town. I have also served as the County Chairman in the local Republican Party, which puts you on the State Central Committee by virtue of your position,” Davis continues.
“That threw me into statewide politics and was also the place where I experienced, on the state level, seeing those platforms not genuinely supported by some of the people we elect.”
Through that process, he goes on, he had the chance to work with lots of different Republicans – a good training ground and an eye-opening experience.
“Being in those positions, you start learning a lot more about how to present your ideas, how to hear somebody else’s, how to compromise or work to support those ideas and build them,” he says.
“I think that’s good experience to take into the Legislature.”
Of the issues that Davis would support as House Representative, he believes the rare earth mine needs support and encouragement as a valid multiple use. He would also like to see the landfill closure issue handled fairly for towns and municipalities.
“Local governments are finding it impossible to significantly fund, so the state is going to have to figure out how to handle that issue. I think that affects all of us – everybody has garbage they need to get rid of,” he says.
“One of the nice things about small government is that, if you handle those things on a local level, it doesn’t cost nearly as much. If you handle it on a state and federal level, the price goes up dramatically.”
Common Core Standards is another issue that Davis perceives it as a question of local control.
“Who should be setting the standard and expectations for that classroom? Should that be teacher- and local administrator-driven, or should that be a nationally driven standard?” he elaborates.
“Does the National Governor’s Association or Achieve Inc. really have the ability to tell a teacher in Crook County how a particular student is going to respond to curriculum or a standard for that year?”
Davis also believes that the responsibility to educate a child belongs to the parents. When the responsibility is removed and parents become disengaged, it’s hard for the teacher to get support.
“Freedom in education is important to me but parental involvement, no matter what kind of system or curriculum you use, is huge,” he says. “Without it, I think the school is going to have a tough time.”
Davis says he would also support pro-life and pro-traditional family ideas. Regarding the former, he believes that it’s impossible to honor such things as Second Amendment rights and the right to peaceably assemble without first honoring that human’s right to exist.
“My perspective is that, at the moment of conception, human life begins. I think it deserves state protection until that individual naturally dies,” he says.
“I also believe that marriage should be defined as a marriage between one man and one woman.”
Davis would like to see a repeal of the fuel tax increase and to encourage a shifting of ownership of federal land to state land, while still maintaining public use and access.
“Constitutionally, I believe that land is supposed to eventually default back to state ownership. I don’t think that’s a process that could happen quickly, but I would support the idea,” he says.
Davis also believes that surplus revenues should be used to fix infrastructure and give state employees wage increases.
“If you are delaying raises for people, putting a lot of money in savings and saying you can’t afford to give people more money, people start to get a little frustrated with that and rightfully so. Wyoming thankfully has a great income, great revenue sources, great savings accounts and lots of reserve monies,” he says.
“It may be time to start looking at how we can use excess revenues for state needs.”
To contact Davis, look for him on Facebook, email him at [email protected] or find his number in the phone book. He will also be campaigning door-to-door during the months before the election.