CHEYENNE – A Laramie businessman is hoping to oust a dynasty in the nation’s capital.
Greg Hunter is running as a Democrat for Wyoming’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
It’s his second run for U.S. House. He lost a bid for a seat among Ohio’s delegation in 2002.
“I ran as a Republican the first time, as I was against the Iraq war,” Hunter said. He referenced former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney as a mentor of the war.
“His daughter has now been handed the scepter,” Hunter added. Republican Liz Cheney is the sitting Wyoming representative, and she is running for re-election to her seat.
“We always complain about dynasties – the Clintons, the Bushes, the Cheneys. I don’t think it’s a good way to represent the people,” Hunter said.
He explained that he has spent a lot of time working with the federal government throughout his career and is familiar with the way Congress functions.
“I’m very versed on the House and the Senate and the agencies that they’re supposed to oversee and how the taxpayer money is spent inside federal agencies,” Hunter said.
He added that he’s frustrated seeing Congress micromanage many federal agencies.
“I believe the federal workforce is a fantastic workforce. If you give them a mission and the correct budget, they are going to do a wonderful job for you,” he said.
Hunter explained that he would prefer scrutiny be applied to federal contractors.
“Contractors, while embracing the flag, have taken a great deal more money than they should have for the services they provide,” he said.
Hunter said he believes members of Congress should stop bickering across the aisle and bring in actual ideas to help the state and its industries.
“One would hope that lies and money don’t always lead to just winning, with no ideas going forward,” he said. “I’m appalled at how little they actually do (in Congress).”
Hunter said if he is elected, he will first reach out to constituent services and areas that would move Wyoming forward.
Hunter said he wants to see Wyoming’s delegates focus more on moving Wyoming energy sources out of state to bring in more revenue.
“I would really like to get more income, so Wyoming has more breathing room,” he said. Hunter said he believes it’s imperative that the state be able to fully fund education.
He said as Wyoming’s representative, he would focus on enhancing agriculture, energy and tourism. “Those are the things that keep Wyoming employed and keep the revenue stream up. I don’t think we do a very good job as Wyoming of presenting our best face,” Hunter said.
He explained that one way Wyoming can improve its image to the nation is to “increase the wildness of Wyoming.”
Hunter supports expanding Yellowstone wildlife herds, such as bison and elk, into nearby forests.
“Allow them to come out of Yellowstone into the Yellowstone ecosystem,” he said. Hunter added that the people who hold the land leases to graze cattle would need to be properly compensated, however.
“If we push those kinds of ideas, I think a lot of people around the country would look at Wyoming in a different light, and that will allow us to negotiate our energy transmission out of the state,” Hunter said.
Although not a Wyoming native, he came to the state and settled in Laramie in 2012.
“I could pretty much live anywhere, but I chose Wyoming because it’s a fantastic place. I think I was born to be here,” he said.
Hunter admits that running as a Democrat in Wyoming will be more difficult than running as a Republican, as he did in 2002, but he said the GOP has changed too much for him to represent the party.
“It’s the party of Trump. It’s not a conservative party,” he said. “At one point, I thought Republicans felt that there is waste in government, but the government is not a waste. Now, it seems like they think everything in government is a waste, except the military.”
Hunter said that although many people support term limits in Congress, the responsibility is on the residents to replace the longtime delegates.
“A lot of people like term limits, but every two years, we can send 435 new people in the form of representatives to Washington, and we don’t do it,” Hunter said. “If we want things to change, we need to change the people.”
Members of Congress are paid $174,000 annually. Members of the U.S. House serve two-year terms.