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Tom Jones (Wyoming)

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Tom Jones
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Wyoming House of Representatives, District 42
Former candidate
PartyRepublican
Prior offices
Deputy State Auditor
1987 - 1990
Wyoming House of Representatives
1977 - 1987
Wyoming Special Assistant Attorney General
1974 - 1975
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of Wyoming, 1969
Master'sLesley University, 1990
J.D.University of Wyoming, 1974
Personal
ProfessionRetired attorney and lobbyist
Websites
Campaign website
CandidateVerification
Tom Jones was a 2014 Republican candidate for District 42 of the Wyoming House of Representatives.[1]

Jones served in the House from 1977 to 1987 and as Deputy State Auditor from 1987 to 1991.[2]

Issues

Campaign themes

2014

Jones' website highlighted the following campaign themes:

Education

There are few responsibilities government has that are more important than education. Success in education leads to success in life and we must ensure students get the best education they can at a reasonable cost.

This past year has been difficult for everyone, particularly those most involved in education. Now that the matter seems to be resolved, we must set aside the acrimony and rhetoric that have dominated the discussion for far too long. So how do we move forward from here?

First, everyone must obey all laws, whether in the education arena or anywhere else. No one gets to “cherry pick’ the laws they will obey based on those they like and those they don’t. It doesn’t matter whether you are an elected official, a constitutionally created officer or someone driving down the highway. Anyone who doesn’t like a law has the choice of getting it changed or taking it to court for review. Ignoring or disobeying laws are not choices in a responsible society.

Second, let’s get back to the basics; Let’s teach students. We need to spend less time testing them and more time ensuring they understand all aspects of a quality curriculum. It is my understanding the amount of time spent testing in one year can exceed several weeks. Wyoming needs to identify and utilize one or two nationally recognized tests that evaluate students and allow responsible evaluation of school districts and curriculums.

Whatever curriculums are selected, they must reflect the modern world and make certain that students are prepared for employment or higher education opportunities wherever they may go. We cannot limit our students to the borders of Wyoming. In a global economy Wyoming students have to be able to compete for higher education opportunities and employment throughout the entire world.

Finally, Wyoming education needs to reflect the “best practices” available when it comes to teaching methods, curriculum and evaluation. Selection of these best practices is best left to professional educators. The legislature’s role is to make sure adequate funding and facilities are available to allow our educators to do the best job they can. We know our teachers can teach. They just need to tools to do so.

Pay Equity

Studies continue to show women are paid less on average than men. Further analysis seems to show this is not due to women being paid less for the same work under the same conditions. Wyoming appears to be a microcosm of this issue. Women’s wages seem to lag behind men because few women occupy positions in high wage industries such as the oil and gas exploration and service industry and mining.

To address these issues, there are things that can be done. First, make sure all state and federal equal wage laws are strictly enforced. When these laws were passed many years ago they had bipartisan support in Congress and continue to have it today.

Next, we must address access and opportunity issues for women in non-traditional employment fields. Opportunities and access can open with the right education. One of the most successful programs in Wyoming is the Climb Wyoming program. As stated on its website: To meet Wyoming’s workforce needs, the CLIMB programs help women enter a variety of occu­pa­tions: con­struc­tion and energy, health care, truck driving, office careers and more.

Climb Wyoming has been very successful in placing women in traditional and nontraditional jobs. They not only educate the women, but provide them support after they get their jobs to ensure their continued success.

Employers must recognize they can find valuable and effective employees with women. Some employment areas may require accommodations for women, but that is only good business practice, just as it is good business to help other employees better accomplish their jobs. While salaries and benefits are critical, studies have long shown having the proper tools and facilities to accomplish a job along with appreciation of their work are just as important to employees when measuring employee satisfaction.

Energy

Wyoming short term financial viability rests squarely on the shoulders of the Energy sector of our economy. In spite of comments to the contrary, our nation’s progress cannot continue without Wyoming coal, gas, oil and uranium. Recently Wyoming has also become a major player in alternative energy with the huge growth found in electricity production from the wind.

Traditional energy sources will continue to be critical in both Wyoming and the nation for a long time. We need to ensure energy can be produced in Wyoming efficiently and effectively so we can compete in the world market. As domestic consumption of carbon based fuels declines, Wyoming has tremendous opportunities in the world market to sell these commodities. If opportunities exist for more production, Wyoming must do what it can to ensure these opportunities are not wasted by undue regulation and taxation.

As coal production declines, it is even more critical that Wyoming prepare for a future that does not rely on mineral production for a substantial portion of our tax revenues. The Permanent Mineral Trust Fund must continue to receive mineral tax contributions for those times we have less energy tax revenue. Additionally we should continue our efforts to grow the “rainy day” accounts of the state. Growth in these accounts doesn’t prevent discussion of the rate at which they are growing or other funding priorities.

Taxation and Budgets

The primary purpose for raising taxes must be the revenue needs of government. Taxes should not be used to try to drive or control human behavior. Furthermore, taxes should not be increased if there are opportunities to re-priortize budgets.

Tax increases should be based only on need and should be as broad based as possible so as to not target specific, small taxpaying groups. Everyone has a stake in our government and everyone should share in its cost.

The concept of “earmarking” specific taxes and tax increases should be avoided whenever possible. If funds from a tax or tax increase are dedicated to a specific need, the legislature loses control over its ability to appropriate money where it will do the most good and address the most critical needs. Times change and budgetary needs change. What is important today may not be tomorrow and the legislature needs to have the ability to put funds where they are needed most. Earmarking funds also obligates future legislatures to spending when the need may no longer exist. Finally, earmarking removes money from legislative review in the budget process. All funds need to receive review by our elected officials, not just a part of them.

Sportsmen and Sportswomen

I am a fisherman and have been a hunter in the past but no longer do so (artificial knees don’t lend themselves to wondering over mountains and prairies). Having been a sportsman, I have a keen interest in how we handle our public lands and what we can do to enhance recreational activities of all types throughout the state.

I believe recreation goes far beyond hunting and fishing. As a serious amateur photographer, ATV 4-wheeler and one who just loves to look at Wyoming, I understand we must ensure all of these activities and more are not degraded, but made available, to the greatest number reasonably possible. Wyoming has a rich history in multi-use of its lands. Recreation is one of the uses recognized by Congress long ago for land use of its lands. Through access agreements, adequate funding for recreational activities in our State Parks and elsewhere and constant involvement of the sporting public in the decision making process regarding recreation we can continue to have activities we all love and enjoy.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is in a difficult position. Often the Department is caught between the competing needs of the in-state hunter or angler versus the out-of-state enthusiasts; use of their budget for game and fish management versus management of non-game issues, such as endangered species; and competition between outfitters and those of us who go out on our own. We need to ensure the professionals in the Department are able to do the job that has been entrusted to them. At the same time we must know the sportsmen and sportswomen of Wyoming are receiving full value for their license fees and other costs incurred for engaging in recreational activities.[3][4]

Elections

2014

See also: Wyoming House of Representatives elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Wyoming House of Representatives will take place in 2014. A primary election took place on August 19, 2014. The general election will be held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was May 30, 2014. Gary Datus ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Jim Blackburn defeated Ron Frost and Tom Jones in the Republican primary. Datus will face Blackburn in the general election.[1]

Wyoming House of Representatives, District 42 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJim Blackburn 55.4% 983
Tom Jones 44.6% 790
Total Votes 1,773

Endorsements

2014

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References