Better Wyoming conducted a series of interviews on important state issues throughout 2016. Below is an interview with Jerry Obermueller.
Where should the state spend money to make money?
The main area where I believe we can generate more money is the whole concept of work force stabilization. When you look at the construction industry in this state, it has a relationship to the energy industry. When the energy industry is up, construction can’t find enough employees. When the energy sector goes down, they have available employees but there aren’t any jobs. So the state can stimulate the economy by funding infrastructure, roads and bridges, and the like.
Wyoming is one of the few states without hate crime legislation. Do we need enhanced penalties to protect certain groups?
As I’ve walked the district, I’ve had a list of things that I’ve talked to people about on the street. This is not one of the items I discussed in the district and what was of concern to them. This particular issue did not come up, so I really don’t know the answer to that and do not have an opinion at this time.
Do you support Medicaid expansion?
On my walk-around card through the neighborhoods one of the items I had on there that I could support is considering all options which address the health care dilemma. I heard both sides of this story from many sources as I walked around the neighborhoods. I’ve come to one conclusion about it, and that is we need to shore up the rural hospitals and the rural health providers. Some say that (Medicaid) is the answer, others say that expansion would actually lead to less care in the rural areas. As of 2020, Wyoming will have an obligation to pay 10 percent of some number, which is an unknown number. So I’m hearing all sides of this story, so I think it would be disrespectful to experts on both sides of the issue to conclude on this at this time.
What does Wyoming need to do to better fund public education?
The story of education funding, as you know, is not good right now. The school capitalization construction fund is looking at a $350 million a year deficit. So that projected shortfall causes a lot of dilemma in terms of a solution to these problems. Possibly some of those solutions could be consolidating the districts, a transition of the pension funds from a benefit plan to a contribution plan. Perhaps local bond issues, and state control of the construction projects that are going in instead of local control, which could help standardize that process and drive down the costs.
Do you support transferring federal lands to the state?
I do not support transferring federal lands to the state at this time. The economic reasons at the present time is that we would have to grow state government to handle this at a time when we’re trying to shrink government. In Natrona County we would be losing our PILT payments, which we can’t afford to lose at the present time. Those are payments in lieu of taxes that we get from the federal government. And then there’s the whole issue of access to public land, which many fear that we would begin to lose access to public lands if it’s transferred to the state.
What will you do in Cheyenne if you are elected to improve the funding of state government?
I look at it as an issue of right-sizing government. I think the two go hand-in-hand. We have to go down there and get the government living within its means, which are less than they used to be. Then the rainy day fund in conjunction with that could be used to stimulate the economy, as I stated before, in the whole area of work force stabilization funding projects in Wyoming like roads, bridges and infrastructure the state needs and we can all benefit from.
Why are you the best person to represent House District 56?
I’m a proud alum of Deloitte & Touche, which is one of the four largest CPA firms in the world. In working there I learned how to deal with very complex budgets and balance budgets in that kind of environment. I moved to Wyoming because I grew up here, and I applied that skill set to premier clients in almost every sector in the state of Wyoming. So I believe that background prepares me for the crisis that the state of Wyoming is in, and I will go down there and work on these problems for the people of House District 56 if the people want me to go there.
Jerry Obermueller answered a 2016 survey by WyWatch, a conservative nonprofit unaffiliated with Better Wyoming. Unfortunately, the WyWatch website is no longer available, but Better Wyoming had downloaded his responses and provide them here as a public service.
Many states are passing legislation banning abortions where an unborn child is ripped apart limb by limb by a dismemberment procedure. Would you sponsor or co-sponsor and willingly support such legislation if you are elected?
Would be happy to co-sponsor.
Knowing that the abortion recording laws in Wyoming are not enforced due to the lack of penalties for failure to report, would you sponsor or co-sponsor and support legislation to enhance penalties for failure to report abortions in Wyoming?
Would be happy to co-sponsor.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification (SOGI) laws are actively being used across the country to silence those who have religious convictions opposing same-sex marriage. If elected to office do you support or oppose SOGI laws?
Do you support or oppose a parent’s right to home school their children without any government interference?
Do you support or oppose national standardized tests forcing teachers at all local levels to teach to a national standard, therefore creating a national curriculum without parental or local school board control?
Do you support or oppose legislation to teach the Bible in public schools not as a theology course but as an elective for history, literature, social studies, etc.?
Do you support or oppose legislation that would give a business owner (photographer, baker, wedding planner, etc.) the ability to refuse to participate in a same-sex union in Wyoming?
Do you support or oppose legislation opening the doors of a female restroom to “anyone” claiming to “feel” like a female at that particular moment, therefore endangering the safety and security of women and children?
What actions would you be willing to take in order to protect all women and children in restrooms and locker rooms in the state of Wyoming if you are elected?
Would support well-crafted, legally sustainable legislation.
Do you support or oppose any state, federal or local Medicaid taxes funding Planned Parenthood in Wyoming or in the United States?