Mar 18, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff WriterTwo Republicans who sparred over the state representative seat in House District 33 in earlier elections are running for it again. They could have better luck now that incumbent Democrat Patrick Goggles is stepping down.
Daniel Cardenas and Jim Allen announced at their party's convention Saturday that they are running for the seat. They are expected to face off in a primary election Aug. 8. Other candidates could run as well; the filing period doesn't start until May.
HD 33 runs from Crowheart along the southern side of Fremont County to Atlantic City and includes Arapahoe, Ethete and Fort Washakie on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Democrat Patrick Goggles has held the seat for 10 years but two weeks ago said he would not seek re-election. No Democrat has announced an intention to run.
The district went blue in all five elections in the last 10 years, and both Republican contenders have run in HD33 and lost to Goggles. Either could stand a better chance against a newcomer.
With the incumbent stepping down, however, Democrats plan to focus on the house seat as well.
"We absolutely have to hold (the seat)," Fremont County Democratic Party chairman Bruce Palmer said March 15 at his party's convention. "That's imperative."
Allen was appointed to represent District 33 in the state House in 2004 following the death of Harry Tipton and filled out the term for a little less than a year. Goggles defeated Allen in a general election that year, and the Democrat began his 10-year hold on the office.
Cardenas was the GOP candidate in the 2010 general election, but Goggles edged him out by 19 votes.
Allen beat Cardenas in a primary for the same seat in 2012. Allen ended up with 546 votes, or 79 percent, of the 690-vote total.
Allen, however, lost the 2012 general election to Goggles by 26 votes, out of 2,900 cast.
In an interview, Allen said he had experience in office pointing to his time in the legislature in 2004. He hopes to represent his principles if elected.
"I'm a constitutionalist," Allen said. "We really need to adhere to the Constitution...because that is the vehicle to protect people's civil liberties."
He would represent all of the people in HD33, "tribal and non-tribal, and both parties," he said. He did not name specific issues he was interested in working on but said he would take the concerns of his constituents to the Legislature.
"I did that before -- I was very responsive," he said. "I'd just like to do the work of the people."
Allen, 61, ranches north of Lander and is a hunting guide. He has a bachelor's degree in range management from the University of Wyoming, is married, and has three children.
He served as president of the Wyoming Dude Ranch Association, on the Fremont County Lodging Tax Board, and was a president of the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association.
Cardenas, 39, has experience in public office having served on the Pit River Tribal Council in Burney, Calif. He has lived in HD33 since 2004.
Upgrading the irrigation system in HD33, improving school performance on the Wind River Indian Reservation, and providing adequate housing are issues Cardenas is most concerned about.
He thinks joint action among the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Joint Business Council of the Northern Arapahoe and Eastern Shoshone tribes, and the state officials would improve the irrigation system, Cardenas said.
"It affects both native and non-native farm and ranches," he said. "Probably the majority of farms and ranches are non-native."
He would work with school districts on the reservation to see graduation rates and other measures of success improve without spending more money, Cardenas said.
Houses often are overcrowded in HD 33, Cardenas said.
"I think there's room for the state to work with the joint tribes to alleviate some of the housing issues," he said.
Cardenas, his wife and their children live near St. Stephen's. He owns a consulting business serving natural resources companies.
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