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Renewable energy criticized in Wyoming governor’s race

July 13, 2018

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The rhetoric in the race for Wyoming governor went abruptly negative at a debate Thursday as one candidate criticized another for supporting renewable energy and a third for expenditures as state treasurer.

Attorney Harriet Hageman closed out the Wyoming Public Media debate by laying into fellow Republicans Sam Galeotos and Mark Gordon.

Galeotos is executive chairman of Cheyenne-based Green House Data Corp., which Hageman called “ideologically obsessed with so-called green energy” and “anti-coal.” It wasn’t Hageman’s first jab at wind and solar power: Earlier in the hour she called them unfairly subsidized by government.

“I guess one thing that could be said about Mr. Galeotos is that he says one thing when he’s in Gillette but he does it differently when he’s in Cheyenne,” Hageman said, referring to Gillette as the heart of the nation’s top coal-producing region.

Galeotos called the remarks baffling.

“It shows a severe lack of understanding of how the private sector works today and how you do business in the modern world. Our company, Green House Data, purchases renewable energy. So does Walmart, Cisco, Procter & Gamble, Black Hills Energy — whom we buy our coal-fired electricity from — Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Albertsons,” said Galeotos.

Even President Donald Trump buys renewable energy for a hotel he owns in New York, Galeotos said.

“All of corporate America is like that,” said Galeotos.

Hageman accused Gordon of overspending on investment advice as state treasurer. Last year, Wyoming spent $90.5 million on investment advisers when it could have invested in an index fund, Hageman said.

“That would have saved us $88 million. That’s another place where we could cut spending,” Hageman said.

The $90 million included $30 million in incentives and isn’t much compared to what other states spend, Gordon countered.

“We are very low compared to any of our neighbors. So it’s important that people not be confused by what that number represents,” Gordon said.

Gordon flatly denied Hageman’s claim in closing that he supported environmental groups who backed reintroducing wolves to Wyoming in the 1990s.

“It’s disingenuous. I’ve never funded any wolves. I’m a sheep rancher,” Gordon said.

Three other Republicans — businessman Foster Friess, physician Taylor Haynes and businessman Bill Dahlin — scored lower in a recent poll and debated separately.

The six Republicans seek their party’s nomination to succeed Republican Gov. Matt Mead, who is term-limited. Democratic candidates including former state Rep. Mary Throne didn’t take part in this debate.

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Follow Mead Gruver at https://twitter.com/meadgruver

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