A Douglas business owner is trying to become governor
Political newcomer James Scott Quick of Douglas is a Republican candidate for governor. Mr. Quick came to Wyoming in 1969 and graduated from Douglas High School. After serving in the Marines, he's worked in the energy industry and currently operates an oilfield service company. He told Bob Beck that he's concerned about losing freedoms in the country and the state and that's what got him into the race. Quick said he has some priorities he'd like to work on.
James Scott Quick: Go back to our first come first serve in our state parks, instead of this reservation only system. There should be maybe 10 to 15 percent of the spaces in our park for reservation, because I know it's important. Our tourism is important. And I know when people travel a long distance, they want to know that they have somewhere to go. But I've actually been actively campaigning for well over a year, talking with thousands of people in Wyoming. And it is a major issue in the state that we can't even hardly use our state parks, because you can't get reservations on them and then the people go down there, and they're half full. So I want to go back to pre-pandemic stuff in our state parks.
I really want to address our state employees. There's like 15,100 state employees, last time I checked. I really want to get them good raises, not two percent, not five percent, I want to get them up to where they need to be so they can make a living. Especially our Wyoming highway patrol, we're going to probably be more than 50 percent down by the end of the summer on our highway patrol. And the ones that I've talked to, one of the main things [they say] is they can't hardly survive on the money they're being paid. And those guys literally are putting their lives on the line every day they go to work.
Some of the other things I want to address is the nuclear power plant coming to Wyoming. I've really got a lot of questions on that one, I actually would like to keep the power plants open instead of closing them. I think we need to protect the jobs, we have to worry about new jobs later. My wife actually had the idea over a year ago that we should be able to form a co-op with Wyoming citizens and either buy out those four plants that they want to shut down or take them over and keep them going.
Bob Beck: One area of concern is health care. A lot of folks in the state are really struggling to either afford insurance and get insurance and adequate health care. And one of the solutions that has been proposed is Medicaid expansion. First off your thoughts on Medicaid expansion? And if you don't like that, what would you do about some of these issues?
JQ: I need to look into it a lot more than what I have. But with the Medicaid Expansion, that's just getting the government more involved in your personal life? I do not think that is the answer. I think we need to open it up to more competitive competition on the free market. I think that would bring the prices down on that, but I am not really on board with the Medicaid expansion.
BB: Now, the other thing we're talking an awful lot about in the state right now is the need for mental health resources and the lack of them in the state. Do you have any ideas on that and what we might do to address that issue?
JQ: I've been very fortunate to where I haven't really had to deal with that kind of stuff. But, I've talked to a lot of people in the state about it. And the way I understand it, the funding has been cut a lot for a lot of the mental health people in Wyoming, the providers and those that give the help out and stuff. I would really like to look into that and see why we're cutting that? You know, I don't think we need to cut funding to mental health at all. So I mean, that's one of the things I think we need to really take a serious look at why the funding has been cut for that and see if we can get it back.
BB: This year I've heard a lot about K-12 education on a variety of fronts. While we often talk about the funding aspect, there's other things like school choice and those kinds of things that are being discussed. If you were to get elected, what areas of education are you interested in addressing and what changes or proposals do you have in that area?
JQ: I honestly think that is going to be one of my most difficult things to deal with is K through 12. Because I do believe in school choices. I mean, we should have more. I believe they're actually bringing more charter schools and stuff to the state right now. I just heard in Casper they're building one. I think it's going to be online next year. I'm not sure about that. But we need to have more of those come into the state.
I think we need more trade schools above K through 12. I think we need to try and get more trade schools in the state. And honestly, when it comes to our K through 12, I support the parents and the teachers, more than I would the administration because I've heard some numbers on that. And I believe there are 23 counties in the state. And I think 48 school districts. That I really want to look into because I don't understand why. I know we pay a lot per child for our K through 12 and I don't think we're getting enough in return for that. So I do think that is going to be one of my major hurdles to deal with.
BB: The other thing that I hear from Republicans across the state right now is the long-standing debate of how do we even out revenue for Wyoming? You're in the energy industry, you probably know about this better than anyone, but nobody wants new taxes. In fact, in your industry, people are looking at reducing some taxes. So how do we stabilize that revenue if, in fact, we need to do that?
JQ: A lot of it, I think is if we just cut back on our regulations, we get the government out of the way we make smaller government. And I love competition because it makes me perform better. It makes me really watch my dollars and stuff. And I think if we just get the government out of the way, cut back on some regulations, and open it up, I think we would bring more businesses to the state.
BB: So is it about attracting more businesses? Do we need to reform the tax system, so there are other businesses that have paid as much as your industry?
JQ: It needs to be seriously looked at. With the government subsidies and all this other stuff, it needs to be fair, across the board. And I mean, it's something that definitely needs to be looked at, and there's no one industry that should be paying more than another.
I've been asked about what I could do for agriculture in the state? I'm not an ag person. I grew up in towns. I do know a lot of people that own land. And one of the things I've [heard] is our water rights are a major issue. The 30/30 stuff coming out of Washington D.C. we need to fight that as much as we can. Also, I want to get more Wyoming beef in Wyoming schools.
BB: I also wanted to ask you about property taxes. Many people in the state are struggling with those. Do you have thoughts on that and if there are any fixes that can be done?
JQ: That has come up a lot lately. They have gone up a little bit here in Converse County, I don't think they've gone up as much as they have in some of the other places. That is something else that really needs to be looked at. And I believe we need to put some type of a cap on it to where they can't raise them. Some of these places from what I understand are just getting outrageous on their property taxes. And that to me, that's not right, we need to really seriously look at that and make it to where there is a cap on it.
BB: How do people find out more information about you and contact you?
JQ: If they go to my website. I'm also on Facebook as James Scott Quick. And then my email. My phone number is 307-359-9576. And if I do not answer that phone, please leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can.