Wyoming Governor Candidate Sam Galeotos Promotes Tech
Wyoming faces a $1 billion deficit and probably will continue to face similar hard economic times, so it needs to embrace new technologies and create an environment for jobs that don't even exist yet, a Republican candidate for governor said Thursday.
"We need to do something very aggressive, and begin to create long-term sustainable economic growth in the state," Sam Galeotos said during a campaign stop at the Yellowstone Garage in Casper.
"I believe the answer is going to come from the private sector in our state," Galeotos said.
Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis introduced Galeotos, who in turn introduced his business advisory team. Some of the members include former Wyoming Business Council CEO Tucker Fagan; Cary Brus, president and CEO of the McMurry companies; Fred DeVore, co-owner of Peterbilt of Wyoming; Steve Degenfelder, land manager for Kirkwood Oil and Gas; Jason Kintzler, founder and CEO of Pitchengine; and Jerad Stack, founding member of Breakthrough 307.
Galeotos is among five Republicans who have filed to seek their party's nomination in the Aug. 21 primary. The others are Bill Dahlin, Foster Friess, Mark Gordon and Harriett Hageman. The only Democrat so far to have filed is Kenneth Casner.
To move forward, Galeotos said the state needs to reduce spending, find new revenue sources, do more to promote tourism, and lessen obstacles for businesses, especially for the energy industry.
Later, he said the permitting process for some businesses, especially on the federal level, takes up to a year-and-a-half, and he would like to see that reduced to three months. Wyoming Department of Quality spokesman Keith Guille responded, saying permitting processes depend on a lot of factors, and the agency works as efficiently as it can.
Wyoming needs to achieve a broader economic base beyond the core industries of energy, tourism and agriculture, he said.
Galeotos entered the travel industry after the deregulation of the airlines in the early 1980s, he said. That coincided with a revolution in technology that evaporated the tens of thousands of travel agencies because people can now book flights and hotel rooms on their computers, he said.
Those companies, including those he worked for, began living in the future, he said. "Technology is not only the great equalizer in this world, it is the great enabler."
Even now, there are driverless cars and trucks; microchipped plants in fields that can tell a farmer what areas need attention; telemedicine; and blockchain technology, he said.
Wyoming has a low population base and rural nature that can be a hindrance, but those attributes also can be opportunities for the state to be a lab for new technologies for health care, agriculture, tourism, energy, manufacturing and even government itself, Galeotos said.
Knowledge-based jobs are transferring from the coasts to middle America, he said.
"Some of the most important jobs of the future don't even exist today," Galeotos said. "We don't even know what they are. Ten years, 15 years, all of this technology, whether it's in health care or in energy or in agriculture are going to be totally different than they are today. That is Wyoming's opportunity."
As to those who work those jobs, he said Wyoming should welcome prospective employees regardless of their sexual orientation.
Some companies, especially those with younger tech-savvy employees, tend to avoid states without anti-gay discrimination laws. The largest of those is Amazon, which is considering a second headquarters with as many as 50,000 employees. It recently narrowed its list to 20 metro areas. LGBT advocacy groups have urged Amazon to not locate in nine of them because they are in states that don't have laws forbidding discrimination in housing and employment.
Galeotos said he recognized the issue.
"I don't believe that we should be discriminating against anybody," he said. "We should love everybody and we should not be judgmental of anyone. I think we're that way right now, and I think we have laws in place that support nondiscrimination."