Apr 27, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff WriterLongtime Fremont County rancher Lois Herbst is running as a Republican candidate for House District 34 to address issues including education and federal government management of public lands.
Herbst cited the importance of the newly developed legislative Subcom-mittee on Federal Natural Resource Management that involves Riverton Sen. Eli Bebout and Ethete Rep. Patrick Goggles.
"These are all issues that impact the economy here in our county every day -- how the lands are used. There's only 13 percent of the land in our county that's in private ownership," Herbst said. "So how it is managed really impacts us severely."
Herbst, 78, is seeking the House seat held by Republican incumbent Rita Campbell, who won election in 2010 after longtime legislator Frank Philp of the Shoshoni area decided to not continue serving.
With the legislative redistricting that happened earlier this year, House District 34 spans a massive area through Fremont County from Jeffrey City in the southeast through Pavillion and on to Dubois in the northwest.
Dubois returned to a Fremont County district from Teton County, while the Shoshoni and Lysite areas moved into a legislative area extending into Hot Springs County with the adjustments resulting from population shifts in the 2010 Census.
In an interview Thursday, Herbst said she would have run for Philp's seat in the 2010 election, but she had obligations to care for her brother in Florida over a 15-month period at the time.
The time is right for her to enter the election this season, she said.
"I've always been interested in everything that happens in this county and state and nation. I read and keep up with all the issues. I travel extensively throughout the West to meetings since I was widowed in 1990 because there are so many things that started to impact us," she said.
After moving to Shoshoni in May 1958 and marrying Bill Herbst, she helped operations with the ranch that "is as old as the town of Riverton, the beginning of it," called the Herbst Lazy TY Cattle Co.
She continues to live in rural Riverton between the city and Shoshoni, and with her grandchildren operates the Herbst Lazy TY Ranch LLP.
Her experience in the ranching community for decades combined with her knowledge of the area and interest in issues impacting the region will help her if elected to the Legislature, she said.
"I'm going to be especially interested in education because I have two grandchildren -- they'll be 16 and 18 this year. I'm concerned about the quality of education they're getting, and that extends to the availability of college for them," she said.
"I'm concerned about the water issues. Water is becoming the most precious commodity in the world and we have so much of it here in our county," she said.
Herbst supports creation of reservoirs as a partnership. "Storage for water would have to be a cooperation with the tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation. We've got to look at the jurisdictional issues that are coming up now with the tribes," she said.
Other critical issues facing the state involve energy, economic development and the impact of sage grouse cores areas especially in Fremont County.
"Eminent domain has been big with the Legislature and it's only going to get bigger with all of the energy corridors that are needed," she said.
Herbst calls herself a historian and photographer. "My major was secondary education and history and social studies," said Herbst, who grew up in southern Ohio and served in the Air Force during the Korean War.
She lost to Philp in 1992 for the state House and later was one of three finalists picked by county Republican Party leaders for the late Sen. Bob Peck's seat in 2007.
Her experience includes Central Wyoming College's public television community advisory board, the CWC Foundation, Fremont County Farm Bureau president, Fremont County Cattlewomen president, the University of Wyoming's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Advisory Board, the Wyoming Beef Council, the Wyoming Business Alliance and the Wyoming Heritage Foundation Steering Committee.
She was the first woman elected by permittees to serve on the Lander District of the Wyoming State Grazing Board and the first and only woman president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
The Wyoming Beef Improve-ment Association selected Herbst and her husband as the commercial producer of the year.
She is in the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame and was named by the Riverton Chamber of Commerce as agriculture woman of the year. She also received the Wyoming Farm Bureau Leadership award.
She continues to serve on the Fremont County Natural Resource Planning Committee.
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