By David Martin

Barney seeks election to House District 60


April 29, 2020

Courtesy photo

Ted Barney

Former Green River City Councilman Ted Barney will seek election to the Wyoming Legislature's House District 60.

Barney will run as a Republican, setting up a primary election contest between him and Mark Baker, who announced his intent to run for the legislative seat earlier this year. John Freeman, the Democrat who has represented House District 60 since 2011, has announced he won't seek re-election. Candidate filing is scheduled for May 14-29.

"Basically, the reason I'm running is I enjoy being involved and I enjoy representing people," Barney said.

Barney previously served one term as a Green River City Councilman and has run in several previous elections under differing banners. In the 2018 Senate District 13 race, he ran as an independent while during the Sweetwater County commissioner race in 2016, he ran as a Democrat. Barney says his longest allegiance has been to the Republican party, saying it was the party he first registered for and was a member of for 27 years.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the economy throughout the world, Barney said the state needs to start looking at other means of industry aside from minerals, oil and gas. He notes tourism is the third-largest industry in Wyoming and believes laws could be expanded to give cities an opportunity to generate more revenue from nearby attractions. Specifically, he said an idea giving cities the ability to designate nearby off-road trails could boost visitation. The idea was brought to his attention while he was a city councilman, but said state law prohibited cities from moving forward on the idea and attempts to have local legislators change state law fell flat.

"If I'm down there, I know it will be presented," Barney said.

Barney said he thinks the state should "take off the oil and gas blinders" and start legitimately looking for ways to diversify its economy. One of his ideas is one that's been mentioned in Sweetwater County for years.

"I've had conversations for 45 years of my life that we have every ingredient here in Sweetwater County for making glass and we don't do it," he said. "I've always wondered why."

Barney said glass manufacturing could reduce one step in the process for companies producing it elsewhere while providing more jobs and industrial tax dollars locally. However, he said the state legislature also needs to be prepared for change. Part of that change involves the economy and recognizing oil, coal and gas can't play a major part of the state's economy like it used to. One area he thinks the state should look at is solar farms, saying they're more efficient due to the high altitude in Wyoming.

He also dislikes the idea of increasing property taxes on seniors and would support legislation to freeze such increases on people aged 65 and older, saying he doesn't mind paying taxes during his working years, but understands it can be a major burden on seniors.


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