State and Federal matters addressed by Wyoming US House candidates

(Casper, Wyo.) - The US House Debate continued Tuesday evening at Casper College with another group of US Wyoming House seekers.
Republican Candidates included: Jason Adam Senteney from Yoder; Mike Konsmo from Powell; and Paul Paad from Casper. Former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer was the moderator.
The three began sharing what they hope to accomplish and bring to the table if elected for the lone US House seat.
Jason Senteney began: "I am the best candidate for this position. I have been running for the last three years and know what it takes to lead Wyoming."
Mike Konsmo commented, "185 regulations in Washington are killing our coal industry, education cuts are affecting our youth, and I plan to fight for Wyoming's economy."
From Paul Paad: "I look to secure our borders, and declare our energy independence. When I look at congress now, I see little happening; our founding fathers wanted a citizen legislature and that is what I aim to bring."
Challengers got the debate started with a heavy topic: one of Wyoming's biggest hurdles, the economy.
"We need to secure our borders and find new markets for our coal industry. Stabilizing coal prices will be a huge help to our economy," Paad said. "We need to utilize and sell the products that we have in our state."
With a chance to chime in Konsmo commented, "We need a positive message to share about our energy. We need to send our coal and oil to other markets in other countries, and begin sending our products around the world."
"We need to look into something different, alternative methods of transportation of our energies," Senteney said. "Lean on Union Pacific and get our products out there to boost our economy."
All agreed that federal lands should be given back to the public to keep and maintain. Konsmo mentioned boosting Wyoming's tourism with our state lands as another way to increase the economy.
Climate change in Wyoming?
"I cannot deny that climate change exists, but it is not due to our Wyoming coal," Senteney said. "We have clean coal technologies and I believe with the reclamation that is being done in our state, we are leaving these areas better than they were. I think people need to look further into these environmentalist studies which tells them that fossil fuels are bad."
Konsmo looks to more dams, canals and irrigation in Wyoming to combat climate change.
Paad felt that Wyoming could use the global warming/climate change debate as a way to bring new programs and ideas to the state.
2nd Amendment Rights or restrictions in Wyoming?
Paad commented, "I don't feel there are any restrictions in Wyoming. The 2nd Amendment is in place to protect ourselves from the government, and I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment and what it states."
"I will always support Wyoming's 2nd Amendment rights," said Konsmo. "We in Wyoming know how to use them, and it is a tradition that we pass on younger generations. I think we need to share these traditions with other states so guns are not a problem in the US."
As a Marine, Senteney claimed, "I like my black powder therapy as does many Wyomingites. But I do think background checks are a must, and if you want to buy a fifty caliber, you should be able afford bullets for it."
How about Planned Parenthood in Wyoming, should the Federal Government support the programs?
Jason Senteny says no. "There is no reason tax payers should be paying for this program. I find abortion deplorable and I think we should restrict it to the beginning of a heartbeat. Life begins and ends with a heartbeat."
Konsmo stepped in. "I am a traditional conservative, and I do not support abortion. We do however, need to support single mothers."
Paad felt that funding for Planned Parenthood should be withheld until abortion is taken away.
How about, what should the Federal minimum wage be?
"It should grow with the economy, " said Konsmo. "The minimum wage is not where it should be, but it should not jump to $15/hour immediately, but it should definitely grow."
Paad commented, "I think it should be left to the states to decide and we should leave it where it is. All we have done in the past when we raise minimum wage is increase the amount of people living in poverty."
Senteney felt, "If we jump to $15/hour there will be lots of unemployed people. Commonsense is to look at nine to ten dollars an hour by 2020."
The candidates were then asked about working with the two Native American tribes in Wyoming as representatives.
"I will represent all people. I have a good relationship with both tribes, and I understand different cultures in our state. I will work with all cultures," said Konsmo.
Senteney leaned on current Wyoming US Senator Barrasso and hopes to work closer with him on cultural issues.
Paad declined comment on this topic.
How to balance the US budget?
Konsmo felt that aggressive reform of healthcare and creating competition across state lines would be a viable solution.
"Accountability, and cut agencies like the Department of Education and other federal agencies," commented Paad.
Senteney agreed with Paad about accountability for congress.
All agreed repealing Obamacare was essential, and they look for new leadership to counter terrorism in the US.
In closing, the candidates had a final chance to campaign and share with Wyoming why they are the best choice for the house seat.
Paad began first. "Do you want a citizen legislature or a group of attorneys and politicians? I am the candidate who will bring a citizen legislature to Washington to represent Wyoming residents."
Senteney: "What sets me apart from the rest is my diverse background, and I am the individual who will go to Washington and fight for you. I have been running for three years now, and I think it is time you send a Wyoming Marine to Washington."
Konsmo concluded, "This is a turning point in US history and Wyoming history. We must turn away from the boom and bust cycle and focus on communities and small businesses, and the people of Wyoming. I am the one voice in the US House that we need to keep our Wyoming values."
Following this debate, four other Republican candidates had a chance to answer similar questions, click the link to hear from the other four Republican candidates.
photos h/t PBS livestream/Pitchengine Communities
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