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Skates wants to direct revenues toward small cities

Nov 4, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Democrat Connie Skates of Thermopolis called herself a political junkie when asked why she ran for Wyoming House District 28 this season.

"I've always been interested (in politics)," Skates said. "I thought I had gotten away from it and decided I haven't."

She served as a city council member and vice-mayor in Rawlins, a city that she considered small before she moved to Thermopolis six years ago. Now, Skates said, she wants to be an advocate for the even smaller communities that make up HD 28.

"(They) need money funneled their direction," she said. "They should be treated fairly with the rest of the state."

She pointed out that a majority of Wyoming's revenues come from work that took place within her district historically.

"They pioneered a lot of the industries that are funneling the money to the rest of the state," Skates said.

"Then we're being ignored when it comes to passing it back around. ... A lot of groups feel like the money is held a little closer to the capitol end of the state."

Skates said she wouldn't be afraid to voice her opinion on that subject and others to come up with solutions at the Legislature. But she said she would be cooperative when working with her fellow representatives.

Skates has been a Democrat since 1972, when she heard the late George McGovern speak at the University of Wyoming during his campaign for president.

"I believed in what he had to say," she said. "I feel like it's the party for the working person, and I believe all of us are working people."

Regardless, she said her opinions differ in some ways from the national Democratic platform, just as Skates said most Wyomingites don't think the same way the country's Repub-licans do.

Having worked in the health care industry for 20 years, Skates said she is well equipped to participate in discussions about the future of health insurance regulations while keeping the needs of her small-town constituents in mind.

She also talked about HD 28's aging population that will require a young work force to provide health care in the future.

"With health care and jobs coming to this area (we could) get a better base to support the aging," Skates said.

"There should be a balance of the younger people coming here to live and start families. (They need) a place to work and have a living wage."

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