Secretary of State visits Green River
Secretary of State Ed Murray visited Green River to talk about the state’s upcoming challenges and opportunities, as well as speak with local officials about Sweetwater County.
Murray said he was invited to speak to members of the Green River Chamber of Commerce after attending the annual Cajun Shrimp Boil during Riverfest in August.
Murray believes Wyoming at a point of reckoning, where it will have to address the boom and bust economic cycles it has dealt with during the past several decades. He believes this can be accomplished through strong, creative leadership and investment using a “meaningful amount” from the state’s rainy day fund, the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account.
Murray’s speech to chamber members at their monthly Lunch and Learn Wednesday focused on a number of principles he believes will benefit the state and its economy. For Murray, one of the keys to improving the economy is what he calls dancing “with the one who brought you,” which for the county means it should focus on its natural resources.
“Sweetwater County, of all the counties ... is perhaps one of the most abundantly blessed in terms of resources,” he said.
While those resources include minerals such as trona, natural gas and coal; Murray also includes the recreational opportunities as well as the workforce available in the county as the resources it should capitalize on. Creating a new customer base for existing industries is also a goal to improve the state’s economy. In Sweetwater County, that would mean finding ways to produce products from the raw materials already available.
Much of Murray’s ideas run parallel to the industrial megacomplex idea local and state officials have proposed. Among the many proposed installations within the complex, facilities to refine raw materials into other, more valuable products.
“It makes perfect sense. We have the resources and if we’re smart, the capital,” Murray said.
Murray believes the state should invest in itself in a way that partners with industry and education to leverage its assets. Through that, Murray said one of the state’s problems involving its youth would be solved. Wyoming’s younger residents often leave the state in search of work and retaining its youth is an important principle on Murray’s agenda. Referring to the youth as “acres of diamonds,” Murray said training them for future jobs and industries will keep the state’s youth within Wyoming. Murray believes partnerships between the local high schools and the state’s community colleges and University of Wyoming would help in bringing the career training to students.
Murray also wants to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem within the state, while combating what he considers over reaching federal oversight and regulations. With the incoming Trump administration, Murray suspects many of the regulations small business owners will get rolled back. Murray believes entrepreneurial freedom will entice more people to start businesses and coax smaller businesses to grow. Speaking from personal experience, Murray said the regulations and permits he had to seek while developing land for residential and commercial uses increased over the course of 35 years, saying he saw between five and six “hoops” to jump through become 35 to 40.
“It’s absolutely prohibitive and indeed impossible for new entrepreneurs to get into business,” Murray said.