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Longtime legislator Illoway runs for Secretary of State

Jul 14, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Wyoming Secretary of State candidate Pete Illoway says two things set him apart from his competitors: He is the most experienced, and he does not want to seek a higher office.

"When I'm Secretary of State, that's the office I have. I'm not looking forward to any other office in 2018, whereas the others may be," he said in an interview.

Illoway is running as a Republican and faces three other contenders in the GOP primary Aug. 19.

The 73-year-old Cheyenne man wants to spur economic development and tune up the Secretary of State office if elected, and he thinks he has the background to be successful.

Illoway served as a representative from House District 42 for 14 years until he stepped down in 2012.

He was the chairman of the House Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee for eight years, which oversees most of the Secretary of State's Office's activities.

He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for six years, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture for nine, and Wycon Chemical Co., a fertilizer manufacturer, for 21 years until his retirement in 1997.

He holds a bachelor's degree in farm and ranch management economics from Colorado State University. Illoway also has served on the Wyoming Business Council, the Cheyenne Regional Airport Board and Cheyenne LEADS, an economic development organization.

He said his background in business would help him in the Secretary of State's role as a State Loan and Investment Board member.

"This board helps with economic development throughout the state," he said. "I just think the State of Wyoming and the communities are moving forward."

In an interview, Illoway did not emphasize his viewpoints on the hot-button issues facing Wyoming, over many of which the Secretary of State has little influence. Most of his talking points concerned the practical workings of the Secretary of State's office.

One issue he would like to address is improving election night reporting by speeding up the process of receiving vote tallies from each county. Another is updating state law regulating notaries public.

The current law is behind current technology, Illoway said, and model legislation other states have used could be implemented to bring Wyoming's statute up to date. If it was more current, notaries could operate better, he said.

Past efforts to pass such legislation have failed, he said.

"That's where I've got the experience to work with the Legislature to say we really need to take a look at this and move forward," Illoway said.

He also wants to speed up the process for filing incorporation papers and make the process available online. Currently, business people starting a company have to print out forms and fill them out on paper.

Going digital would be difficult, but Illoway thinks it is the preferred path.

"It takes money to write the programs, so you have to know how to go to the Legislature," he said.

Keeping the Secretary of State's Office open during a move out of its current facilities is another issue Illoway wants to tackle. Its offices are now in the

Wyoming Capitol building, but due to renovation plans, the Secretary of State will have to move.

"That's a challenge for that office to move and stay open to do the business it needs to do," he said.

He would like to start a program in which the secretary of state and county clerks go to high schools and community colleges to explain to young people why participating in elections is important.

"So many people don't vote because they don't feel a vote is important, but I won my first primary by 23 votes, so I know how important one vote is," Illoway said.

Illoway and wife Chloe in Cheyenne. They have five children and six grandchildren.

Illoway faces Ed Buchanan of Torrington, Ed Murray of Cheyenne, and Clark Stith of Rock Springs in the GOP secretary of state primary on Aug. 19.

Libertarian candidate Howard "Kit" Carson and the Constitution Party's Jennifer Young are running for the same office. No Democrat is running.

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