Better Wyoming conducted a series of interviews on important state issues throughout 2016. Below is an interview with Michael McDaniel.
Wyoming is in an economic downturn. What legislative steps do you think can be taken to mitigate or reverse this downturn?
Wyoming’s historic reliance on natural resources has done nothing but create this endless cycle of boom and bust. I believe that in Wyoming we need to diversify our economy by providing the best education to our citizens available and work to retaining them. By creating a balance between and extraction based economy and a knowledge based economy, the economic downturn we see when there is a bust in the natural resource sector could be mitigated.
Do you think the state should use its rainy day fund? How would you use it?
I do believe the state should use the rainy day fund. It should be used to fully fund the education and healthcare sectors of Wyoming that experienced devastating cuts in funding due to the economic downturn.
What are your thoughts on the current debate over control of public lands? Many legislators are interested in the idea of Wyoming taking control of its public lands. Do you think this is realistic?
I am in favor of keeping federal lands in public hands! As an avid Wyoming outdoors-man I spend the majority of my free time camping, fishing and hunting remote Forest Service and BLM lands within the state. I also mentor many youths in Wyoming outdoors recreational activities, including my own children. The state does not have the funding to maintain these land and they will be leased and sold to the highest bidder, forever changing the Wyoming lifestyle so many enjoy.
What is your stance on the gender wage gap? Is it an issue the Wyoming Legislature needs to address? How so?
It is shameful that in the “Equality State” we see women making 62 cents on the dollar as compared to their male counterparts. The majority of the hardest working Wyoming citizens I know are women. The gender wage gap needs to be addressed by the Wyoming Legislature and action needs to be taken in order for Wyoming to live up to its state motto.
What are your thoughts on the current state of K-12 funding in Wyoming?
Education is of utmost importance if Wyoming wants to stay viable in a world economy. We must insure that we provide the best education available to the states youth and retain them. The educated youth of Wyoming are our future, and all funding that was recently cut in the state budget from education needs to be immediately replaced.
Disclaimer: Better Wyoming prides itself on being nonpartisan. As a result, we always make an effort to interview the candidates on all sides in an election. In this instance, however, we were unable to interview Michael McDaniel’s opponent, Patrick Sweeney, as he did not return our messages requesting an interview. This interview is not an endorsement of McDaniel, and we would have posted interviews with both candidates had Sweeney returned our correspondence.