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 Marguerite Herman, 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.)
Marguerite Herman. A resident of Cheyenne 42 years, all of them in the neighborhoods of House District 11 Eight-year elected Trustee for Laramie County School District No. 1, 2 years as chairman (and parent of 3 LCSD1 graduates). Raised in a military family, professional background in education and communications Active member of the League of Women Voters for 30 years and advocate of informed and engaged voters. Lobbyist for legislative action to make government accountable, open, and responsive to the people of Wyoming
Why have you decided to run for office and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?
After 30 years of advocating good government with the Legislature, and after 8 years as a schools trustee, I want to sit at the table in the Legislature, join the debate, find solutions and have a vote. I am particularly interested in advocating for Cheyenne schools and in using existing state programs to help provide healthcare for our low-income families and keep them out of the hospital.
How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
The Legislature passes laws and writes budgets, and I want to make sure we do right by our Wyoming citizens.
What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
I know the Legislature and the lawmakers. I want to understand the problems of my constituents. And I know how to work with a diverse group of people to identify real problems and work together for real solutions, instead of getting distracted by the latest national culture wars or by the national agendas of partisan politics and special interests.
Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?
I understand the value of every dollar that is collected and every dollar that is spent. Money that is spent wisely is invested in Wyoming’s people, in this and future generations, to create a future for our children and grandchildren. Missing opportunities to grow is foolish, not frugal.
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?
Focusing on “attendance” is missing the point. Meetings are important, but just as important are public documents, which must be available according to state law, and the ability to make public comments (in person or in writing or online). Sole attention on public attendance ignores the ability of people with family and work demands WHILE they participate in government decisions.
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?
Online access may be the best option during a public health emergency or for people who can’t make it to a meeting. Public bodies must understand and obey state laws for open meetings and public documents.
If you are 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?
Presiding or participating – not sure why you are making the distinction. If people or other resources are available, it’s best to anticipate the need for full explanation and have them there. If they are not available, you should make sure you have information necessary in order to make an intelligent vote.
Should you be elected, or re-elected, do you plan on seeking any major policy changes in your chosen office? If yes, what would those changes be? If no, why not?
You are looking for a policy change? The Legislature passes laws and appropriates money. It does not make policy. I want to see laws that support public education, that make current healthcare available to a wider group, that ensure an open and accountable government and that help people engage in their government.
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?
Schools in Cheyenne are struggling with marijuana that is purchased legally in Colorado and brought to school by students. Access already is here. But as far as local enforcement, I want to explore the pros and cons of decriminalization. I am not ready for legalization.
Should you be elected, or re-elected, where do you stand on the issue of constitutional vs. community policing?
I don’t understand the “choice” you present. I do support integrating law enforcement with the community.