CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cap City News has sent out a questionnaire to those running in the primary election in August. The following are the answers from Jared Olsen, who is running for House District 11. Answers are edited only for clarity and style.
Who are you? (Name, where you’re from, employment, hobbies, etc.).
My name is Jared Olsen and I am currently the Representative for House District 11, representing downtown Cheyenne since 2016. I am a fifth-generation Wyomingite. I am a small business owner and attorney in Cheyenne. Above all else, I am a devoted husband and father. I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, and reading, and am a political junkie.
Why have you decided to run for office and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?
I have served House District 11 since 2016. Currently, I serve in House Leadership as the Majority Whip. I am also the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Committee on Financial Technology, Digital Innovations, and Blockchain. I am running for reelection because I love Wyoming and I am committed to working hard to make sure it is an even better place for future generations.
How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
For the past six years that I have represented Cheyenne, I have advocated for policy that diversifies Wyoming’s economy, providing new and innovative jobs. I have worked to strengthen our criminal justice system through much-needed reforms. I have been a strong advocate of our public education system and have fought to properly fund it, even through Wyoming’s difficult years. If reelected, I will continue to advocate for common-sense solutions and fiscally responsible legislation.
What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
Above all else, my experience as a father uniquely qualifies me to make decisions in the Wyoming Legislature on behalf of Wyoming parents and families. As a small business owner, I bring my budgeting and personnel management skills to the Legislature. Finally, as a member of House Leadership and a Chairman of several committees, I am uniquely positioned to provide Cheyenne with effective representation.
Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?
For the past six years, my record has proven that I am a great steward of the Wyoming taxpayer’s dollars. I will always advocate for and support common-sense solutions that are fiscally responsible.
On the issue of transparency, where do you stand on ensuring all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public attendance?
My voting record is publicly available and I strongly believe it should be. I also maintain open communication with constituents through email, Twitter, and Facebook. I strongly encourage the use of these platforms to make government decisions and business more transparent to our citizens.
Do you believe the office or board position you seek has been open and honest with the public? If yes, how can the entity remain open and transparent when conducting public business moving forward? If no, what changes would you implement to ensure that all future dealings are open and transparent?
The Wyoming House of Representatives is highly transparent, utilizing a robust website and digital streaming service for all hearings and meetings. As a Chairman, I require that all of my committee meetings are publicly streamed and I regularly invite public media to stream our meetings. We should continue the use of digital streaming and work to expand it as much as possible, as this is the greatest way for citizens across Wyoming to access their Legislature when travel or geography is restrictive.
If you were presiding over a meeting and a topic was being discussed that you didn’t fully understand, would you ask for a more detailed explanation during the meeting or would you seek the information after the meeting?
Absolutely. First, I lean heavily on the staff of the Legislature to help me best understand the issues and policy considerations. Secondly, I look to those testifying on issues to provide me with more information to make an informed decision.
Should you be elected, or reelected, do you plan on seeking any major policy changes in your chosen office? If yes, what would those changes be? If no, why not?
Currently, the Judiciary Committee is working to restructure Wyoming’s treatment courts so that we better use and apply our dollars for offender substance use treatments. I would like to see this project to completion, saving Wyoming dollars and continuing to lower Wyoming’s recidivism rates. I will also advocate for adequate public education funding and long-term solutions to our public education funding model issues so that all children in Wyoming have the best possible education.
Marijuana legalization, or at the very least decriminalization, is on the minds of the public and public officials alike. Where do you stand on marijuana legalization? What would your office’s stance be if marijuana was decriminalized?
I fully support Wyoming citizens having reasonable and safe access to natural medicine, including cannabis. Our corrections system in Wyoming is also overburdened with policing and sentencing of minor drug offenses like cannabis use/possession. Decriminalizing cannabis would free much-needed resources and money that could be better spent keeping Wyoming citizens safe and funding treatment and prevention programs for more serious drug offenders. I have in the past supported reasonable reforms to allow for medical use of cannabis and decriminalization and will continue to do so.
Should you be elected, or reelected, where do you stand on the issue of constitutional vs. community policing?
Constitutional policing and community policing work together. Constitutional policing provides the appropriate foundation for successful community policing programs, which I support because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to policing. Communities should mold and adapt their policing policies to best fit their needs. Local control is very important in Wyoming.