Q&A: Lawrence Struempf
1. Wyoming had a spending deficit of 1.15 billion dollars during the last budget session. Would increasing property taxes be one way you would ensure that government is funded?
I believe we need to promote our limited natural resources and ensure that Wyoming is getting a fair return on these resources compared to other states. I would develop a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to attract wind energy and diversify our energy portfolio.
I am not in favor of raising property tax, sales tax, or creating an income tax. With about 50% of our electricity being sold out of state, I would like to shift 5% of the electricity usage tax, to an electrical production tax. I will work hard to diversify our economy and attract businesses.
2. Do you feel environmental groups like the Sierra Club have helped or hurt the ag industry? How will you work with them to ensure Wyoming agriculture is promoted not crippled by their actions?
I grew up on a Cattle ranch near Riverton with a faith born not of words but of deeds. I believe that environment groups and hunting groups such as Ducks Unlimited can work together with ranchers and farmers for a win-win outcome. Through initiatives such as drainage projects and producing better agricultural lands and funding irrigation equipment that produce better crops while reducing erosion.
3. What are some of the solutions you see to the challenges in Wyoming agriculture today?
As a past FFA member and rancher, I understand the struggles of agricultural life. I believe value added products is the best way for ranchers and farmers to capitalize on their hard work. Through processing more agricultural goods in Wyoming, people in Wyoming will earn a greater return on their investments. I would like to help develop a large scale butchering plant in Wyoming to process our Wyoming meats and sell them as Wyoming grown and processed.
4. What is your position on a state Country of Origin Labeling law?
I am a firm believer in State and Country of Origin Labeling law. Consumers need to know where their food was raised and processed. It is hard to believe that Tyson foods ships chickens from the United States to China, processes them in China and returns them to the United States for sale.
5. What are your thoughts on the recent return of the grizzly bear to the Endangered Species List? Will this help or hurt agriculture? How?
Growing up on Ocean Lake, I hunted and fished most of my life in the Wind River Mountains. Grizzlies are not afraid of humans and are very dangerous animals. I am in support of a managed hunt on grizzlies in Wyoming to both limit their population and help install a respect for human life.
6. Do you support any changes to the Wyoming brand law? Specifically, do you support county-to-county inspection?
With cattle rustling continuing across the nation, I believe in Wyoming’ s brand inspection laws. In my work with block-chain, I believe it will be beneficial to many ranchers to get digital, GPS, implants in animals of significant value. These implants can be remotely monitored for location, stress, heart rate, etc. Ranchers can remotely determine if a cow is in labor or being attacked as well as determine their location.
7. How important are private property rights? Do you believe energy companies should have the right to use eminent domain to gain access to private land for energy development? How should those landowners be compensated?
I believe in individual freedoms and liberties. I do not believe that energy companies should be able to use eminent domain, letting free mark work. Energy companies can pay land owners a fair value or find an alternative location.