Aug 19, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff WriterIn her bid for the Wyoming House District 34 seat, Fremont County rancher Lois Herbst wants to follow the voting record established by the longtime former legislator who represented the area.
"I do a lot of research, I work well with people, and I will have a voting record that they can check on any index, and I hope it will measure as good as the voting record that Rep. Frank Philp had when he was representing us," Herbst said.
Herbst, who turned 78 in July, wants to bring a voice to Cheyenne that is lacking for the legislative district, she said.
"People know me. They know I have been working for them on many issues, speaking out at meetings such as on the wolf reintroduction, the grizzly bear," she said. "I go to meetings, and I speak out for what is good for people in this county and in this state. I have a strong voice, and I'll use it working for the people in this community."
Herbst is seeking the Republican nomination in the Aug. 21 primary against incumbent Rita Campbell, who won election in 2010 after Philp decided not to continue serving.
After the legislative redistricting earlier this year, House District 34 now spans a massive rural area through Fremont County, from Jeffrey City in the southeast to Pavillion and into Dubois in the northwest.
Herbst has the time to commit to serving the district with the level of representation it needs, she said.
"I'm interested in everything that happens in this state, all the issues involving our taxes, our resources, our children," she said. "Protection of private property, that's what I'm usually speaking for when I'm at meetings."
The construction of pipelines across private lands is an issue impacting property owners, she said.
"The people who own the land are having eminent domain used against them," she said.
Highway funding is a critical issue the Legislature needs to resolve through proper spending, Herbst said. She pointed to a draft committee bill to raise vehicle and fuel taxes.
"With the governor's recommendations for budget cuts, I would rather see everyone look at how they can reduce their costs rather than raising taxes," she said. "One of the biggest issues is why we're needing budget cuts, and that's the low (natural) gas prices, yes, but the way the federal lands are being managed. We're not allowed to use the resources to the extent that we should be able to."
She criticized the Bureau of Land Management for its lack of personnel to evaluate and study Encana Corp.'s proposed gas field in eastern Fremont County and western Natrona County.
"The federal lands are managed by politics and litigation now, and Green Mountain is a perfect example of that," she said. "They challenge every permit the BLM issues, they challenge them in court. It's become a huge burden for ranchers to meet the legal costs of protecting their permits."
Herbst identified ways the state can strengthen its standing with the federal government.
"The governor is becoming more active with other states with trying to make the federal agencies more responsible to states for how the lands are managed, because the way they're being managed right now has such a negative impact on the economy and the culture of the state," she said. "The new joint subcommittee on federal natural resources management is one means of working with the federal agencies to see if we can get better management that will benefit our state."
Her goals in office include working closely with other leaders for the state's benefit.
"I just want to work with the committees that are trying to improve our state and the ones that want to keep it as a good place to do business, as a conservative state in handling our money," she said.
"We have too many people requiring disability insurance," she said. "We rank with West Virginia with the number of people per capita that are on disability. Our Medicaid costs keep increasing.
"I want to be part of finding a solution to health care here without using the Affordable Care Act that President Obama has."
Herbst considers herself a historian and photographer. Her major was secondary education along with history and social studies. She grew up in southern Ohio and served in the Air Force during the Korean War.
After moving to Shoshoni in May 1958 and marrying Bill Herbst, she helped operations with the Herbst Lazy TY Cattle Co. She continues to live in rural Riverton between the city and Shoshoni, and operates the Herbst Lazy TY Ranch LLP with her grandchildren.
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 Improvement 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.
"I'll be a strong legislator working to keep Wyoming wonderful," she said.
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