Senate candidate Dave Dodson and wife Wendy Dodson. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Dave Dodson is running for the United States Senate seat that is up for election this year. Sen. John Barrasso currently holds that Senate seat, and is running for re-election.
Dodson spoke on the phone with the Gazette about his campaign platform and what motivated him to run.
Dodson’s campaign slogan is “Put Wyoming First,” and he discussed how that came to be.
“My wife Wendy and I were talking, and I said that I was frustrated that Sen. Barrasso puts donors and his career first,” Dodson said. “I told her, ‘we should put the people of Wyoming first.’ A lot of politicians put themselves first, and it shouldn’t be that way.”
Dodson spoke about what motivated him to run against the incumbent senator.
“When the Republican party won the White House and the Senate and the House, Trump said we need to fix healthcare,” Dodson said. “Barrasso had absolutely no plan, despite complaining about Obamacare for years.”
“The Republican Party has done a bad job these past few years in the legislature,” Dodson continued. “It’s not the Republican party I knew.”
“I respect the Republican era of Ronald Reagan,” Dodson said. “When he went to work in the morning, I don’t believe he was thinking about furthering his own selfish agenda, but he was thinking about what he could do for the American people to get things done.”
Dodson said he admired Reagan’s ability to work with people that he disagreed with in order to solve problems.
“The legislature has no good plans for healthcare, immigration or taxes, and that’s because the two parties refuse to talk to each other,” Dodson said.
Dodson spoke of the difference between expressing disagreement and expressing disdain.
“Now we have a nation of people who dislike each other, and that’s because of politicians playing on what divides us and making an enemy of the other party,” Dodson said. “We’re one nation under God, and I would work to help reunite us.”
Dodson said his experience in business would give him the necessary skills to reach compromises in the Senate.
After graduating from college, Dodson went into the oil and gas business. He earned degrees in economics and business, and ran his own trucking company and auto parts company for 35 years.
“If elected, I would be one of only three senators who isn’t a career politician, doctor or lawyer,” Dodson said. “It’s critical to have people in the Senate who have been in the private sector and direct experience working with labor.”
“I’m not a career politician,” Dodson continued. “I come from a business background. In business you don’t accomplish anything by yelling — you work together to get something done.”
Dodson has promoted his “Plan to Put Wyoming First,” which outlines his platform and campaign promises.
“In that plan, I set deadlines for myself,” Dodson said. “Instead of just saying we need to fix Wyoming’s economy, I have 10 specific things I will do to accomplish that. Instead of just saying I’ll fix healthcare — because anyone can say that — I have several steps I’ll take. It’s the same with campaign finance reform. I’m the only candidate for this seat who actually has a plan.”
“My granddad was in the coal business, and so was the generation before him, so coal matters a lot to me,” Dodson said. “I think it’s important to preserve the revenue stream from coal royalties that helps build Wyoming schools and roads.”
Dodson said Wyoming needs to start talking about coal differently.
“Up until now we’ve viewed the environmental movement as the enemy, so we’ve said you have to use coal because this and that,” Dodson said. “But we really should be looking at how coal can be part of a clean energy plan.”
Dodson discussed the importance of carbon capture technology with coal.
“Sen. Barrasso ignored carbon capture technology until I started talking a lot about it,” Dodson said. “It’s a way that coal can have a long-term future in the United States.”
Dodson said he wants to represent Wyoming because he cares about the state and its people.
“I want to protect access to the open space of our lands, so that our great-grandkids can have the same stuff I grew up with,” Dodson said. “I grew up learning to fish on the Green River.”
“Another priority if I were elected would be to protect Republican majorities,” Dodson continued. “The way to do that is not to just keep asking forgiveness from voters. Republicans have done a poor job of showing the nation that they can govern.”
Dodson said he doesn’t believe the solution to fixing the state’s economy is diversification.
“We already have a diversified foundation, and we need to build upon it,” Dodson said. “Between agriculture and the energy industry, we have enough. We should not bring companies in from out of state at the expense of taxpayers.”
One of Dodson’s main campaign promises is reforming healthcare.
“We have a bought and paid for congress,” Dodson said. “We need to get the pharmaceutical industry out of politics. I want to take a wrecking ball to the anti-competitive system.”
Dodson mentioned that the latest Casper Star-Tribune poll has Dodson leading Barrasso in the race 59 to 41 percent.
“By getting out and meeting people, I think we’re letting Wyoming people take control of that Senate seat and realize they have an opportunity to put someone in who gets things done,” Dodson said.
Besides Dodson, the other Republicans running for the Senate seat are Anthony L. Van Risseghem, Charlie Hardy, John Barrasso, John Holtz and Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente. The only Democrat running for the Senate seat is Gary Trauner. The primary elections are on Tuesday, August 21. The general elections are on November 6.