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Cheyenne credit union CEO announces run for Senate District 6

May 3, 2024- Wyomingnews.com

CHEYENNE — Kim Withers said Wyoming’s lawmakers are too distracted by national politics to focus on the actual needs of their constituents, which is why she’s decided to run for a seat in Senate District 6.

Incumbent Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, has held the seat since 2017, but has not announced whether he will seek re-election.

Withers told the WTE on Thursday that Bouchard and other lawmakers have become too distracted by national issues. Residents of Senate District 6, which covers the eastern section of Laramie County and a portion of Platte County, are frustrated by the neglect they’ve felt from their elected state representatives, she added.

“Eastern Laramie County (and Platte County) didn’t get what they wanted this year,” Withers said. “It was pretty disappointing.”

Wheatland’s old water tower is in critical condition, and Withers said it could fail in a matter of months. The State Loan and Investment Board — made up of Wyoming’s top five elected officials — had allocated mineral royalty grant emergency funds to “to start repairs and replace components of” Wheatland’s Black Mountain water storage tank in January.

However, Gov. Mark Gordon vetoed funding for the water tower in the 2025-26 biennium budget, saying it was not an ordinary expense of state government. Although this has been a “strange year,” where some exceptions have been made, the governor said in his veto letter he was following “the lead of local legislators who voted against the budget, thereby indicating their regard for the inclusion of this project.”

Both Rep. Jeremy Haroldson, R-Wheatland, and Bouchard were among those who voted against the budget this year.

“We need to unite eastern Laramie County — it is the heartbeat of the state,” Withers said. “That focus needs to be brought back.”

Campaign focuses

Withers said she upholds true conservative values, which includes fiscal conservatism, limited government and local control. In her role as CEO of Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union, she opened 12 new branches, worked with lawmakers to protect the state’s credit unions and established the Meridian Trust North Star Foundation.

The focuses of her campaign, she said, include studying ways to fight property taxes, protect local businesses and uphold parental rights in their children’s education.

Withers said lawmakers did a solid job this past legislative session in their work to tackle property taxes, passing bills that would protect veterans and long-term homeowners. However, there’s still work to be done.

“Now, we need to look at the long term,” Withers said. “We’ve got an inflation rate that is higher in that eastern part of Laramie County than the national rate.”

Her focus is to look at lowering taxation and consider rebate programs that would offer relief to Wyoming residents. It’s important not only to provide relief for workers and families, she said, but local businesses, as well.

This includes finding a way to tackle utility rates and protect Wyoming’s industries, whether it be agriculture or commercial businesses. With federal funding from COVID relief programs “drying up,” she added that it’s also important to consider ways the state can support its local school districts.

“How do we make sure that our students stay well educated?” Withers said. “We need to look at what’s going to happen with school districts and parental choice.”

A ‘true conservative’

The Wyoming Freedom Caucus started to gain traction during the 2020 presidential election and officially formed in 2022. Moderate Republican lawmakers who did not fully align with the ultraconservative group formed the Wyoming Caucus, which is made up of the state’s more moderate conservatives.

Withers declined to answer the question of whether she lines up more with the Freedom Caucus or the Wyoming Caucus, saying she didn’t want her political beliefs to be “pigeonholed.”

“I want to be viewed as a true conservative,” Withers said. “I want to represent the people, and having a label doesn’t necessarily show what I can do.”

She added she was most excited to go door to door and engage deeper with the local community.

“Door to door is the best connection ever,” Withers said. “You gotta have raw knuckles and good soles on your shoes.”

Withers said she’s already looking at scheduling two town hall meetings, where she plans to speak with stakeholders and better understand their concerns.

More information about Withers and her campaign is available through her website at kimwithers.com.

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