Oct 31, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterLibertarian Bethany Baldes of Riverton said people who feel disenfranchised by the Republican and Democratic parties should vote for her to represent them in Wyoming House District 55.
"If you aren't liking what the two big parties are doing and want to have your voice heard, voting for a third party gets that message across," Baldes said. "It's never wasting your vote -- it's voicing your opinion."
This is her first time campaigning for elected office, and Baldes said the experience has been educational. For example, she recently attended a meeting on coal that she described as an "eye opener."
"They showed a graph of the multiple levels of taxation, and not even taxation, just fees (coal companies) have to pay," Baldes said. "A lot of that was federal regulations."
She said it is time for states to start standing up for themselves by saying "thank you, but no thank you" more often when it comes to the federal government.
"I don't think people realize how much power the states could have," Baldes said, specifically mentioning education. "For us to do federal programs in our schools, it costs the state money."
She would like to see more school programs designed and implemented by individual states.
"That way we could have Wyoming tests and get rid of the California influence on our schools systems," Baldes said. "We would come out ahead because we wouldn't have Wyoming dollars going to programs that don't necessarily work for Wyoming."
Baldes also would like to see more jobs available in the state, especially in local oil fields.
"(We need) to start working on making this a good place for industry to want to come," she said.
She decided to run for the Legislature two years ago, when she realized that incumbent Republican David Miller of Riverton was rarely challenged.
"(I wanted) to be able to give the people in Riverton a choice," Baldes said.
The 26-year-old also thinks it is important for younger residents to get involved in politics.
"I wanted there to be a young voice out there," Baldes said. "I feel like the younger generation, we want to do something but don't really know how. ... It's hard to get the younger generation to even discuss government issues. So that was a big thing."
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