Ken Chestek, professor of law at the University of Wyoming, is running for office in the state legislature as a Democrat in a strong Republican majority.
Chestek is running for House District 46 in Albany County.
“Chestek said he has chosen to run because he thinks the legislature needs to get back to solving the problems of everyday Wyomingites,” according to a press release.
Chestek said he believes that with the addition of his law background, the legislature will have a better understanding of laws written and interpreted from a more ground-level perspective.
Chestek, who is running as a Democrat, is an avid supporter of overturning Citizens United and locating additional sources of energy other than coal, given the state’s current financial crisis.
“I’m a lawyer first and a law professor second,” Chestek said. “My job as a lawyer was to solve problems and my job as a law professor is to teach other students how to solve problems and Wyoming has some problems.”
Chestek also said he believes the structural issues and issues with our state’s funding stream are signs the current revenue will die off so we need to find new ways to increase revenue.
“The way the coal industry is going right now,” he said, “it’s not smart for us in Wyoming to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that maybe it’ll come back if we just wish hard enough. But wishing is not going to make it happen.”
The potential of green energy is something Chestek said he sees as a way to deal with this potential crisis, looking toward outside of the box methods to make-up the difference seen with this recent economic downturn.
He said he sees running as a Democrat as an advantage. There is a heavy Republican majority in the House and Senate, but there are some diverse opinions among the legislature, and the addition of another voice outside even the typical Wyoming political mindset will aid in shining new light on old problems, Chestek said.
Erica Oman, a political science graduate student, attended Chestek’s launch party and heard his speech on issues facing Wyoming.
“I think he makes some really good points,” Oman said. “His experience with law, not just practicing it, but interpreting and teaching it, I think he has some really valuable insights into the spirit of the law. It’ll be a very new take, but I think that it’s one that’ll benefit the legislature as a whole.”