Mead believes he’s the frontrunner in GOP race
Date: June 25, 2010
Republican Matt Mead said Thursday during a stop at the Jackson Hole Daily that he believes he is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination for governor.
A day after earning an endorsement from the Wyoming Education Association, Mead discussed a host of issues, including economic development and the race for governor.
Mead, who’s been traveling the state for community meetings, forums and to knock on residents’ doors, said he seems to be leading the party in the race.
“When we started out as a group, we were all pretty close together,” he said. “I would say now we feel like we’re in the lead. Who’s next to us? I just don’t know.”
Mead said that perception is based on conversations he’s had in the past few months, responses to his Web site and the skyrocketing volunteerism his campaign has seen in recent weeks.
“As we travel around, people seem very enthused about the campaign,” he said.
This is the first time Mead, 47, has run for office.
He is a Jackson native, and his grandfather, the late Cliff Hansen, was a U.S. senator and governor. His mother, the late Mary Mead, also ran for governor.
A Cheyenne resident, Mead served as U.S. attorney for the state starting in 2001. He retired in an effort to be considered for appointment to the U.S. Senate seat that opened when Craig Thomas died in 2007.
John Barrasso was appointed to that post.
Mead faces six opponents in his party’s race for governor: Fort Bridger rancher and former state legislator Ron Micheli; state Auditor Rita Meyer, of Cheyenne; Wyoming Speaker of the House Colin Simpson, of Cody; Alan Kousoulos, a Wyoming Department of Transportation employee from Cody; Sheridan resident John Self, who’s run twice for governor; and Laramie resident Tom Ubben, an energy company employee.
“I am approaching this as a citizen of Wyoming,” Mead said.
Top issues include jobs, education and community sustainability, he said.
“The future gauge of Wyoming isn’t how much money we have in a state bank account,” he said. “It’s the places where we live, work and play. Are those thriving? Are we able to attract businesses where people can find meaningful careers?”
In the long term, Mead said he sees improved technology and connectivity as a way to attract business. Data centers, in particular, should be coming to Wyoming because Wyoming offers two of their greatest needs: abundant, low-cost electricity and a cooler climate, needed for the machines.
“[Data centers] are a clean industry and have great sales tax benefits,” he said.
In the short term, Mead said he would work to provide economic relief immediately by using state discretionary funds, which have lost value in the stock market.
“Rather than playing the market with it, let’s go ahead and put it to work,” he said. “If we keep that money in communities, it rolls over five times. That’s absolutely a good way to get out of our recession more quickly.”