Shared Responsibility for a Stronger Albany County

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PLATFORM

ECONOMY

Diversification of our economy is essential to maintaining a strong Wyoming and providing a place where future generations can be gainfully employed, earn a just wage and make Wyoming their forever home.  Attracting established companies looking to expand, supporting existing businesses, encouraging family ranches and growing new ideas into viable companies is a strength of Laramie and Albany County; continued efforts in these areas are essential, but must balance growth with maintaining our small town Wyoming feel.  Government should only be as large as absolutely necessary and spending cuts must be considered before taxation. I do not support income taxes as my opponent does; this simplistic idea punishes Wyomingites for their hard work and successes, rather than encouraging the development of long-term solutions

WYOMING HERITAGE and RECREATION

Protecting the Wyoming heritage and the recreational opportunities available in our great state are essential.  The ability to hunt, fish and enjoy multiple-use recreation on public lands must be maintained while protecting private property rights.  Tourism continues to be a strong driver of our economy and  providing a warm Wyoming welcome can go hand in hand with maintaining opportunities for local residents.  Supporting our ranchers and agricultural producers is critical given current markets and helping them find new ways to market their products is important.  I will work to ensure Wyoming continues to protect citizen's 2nd Amendment Rights.

EDUCATION

Developing the future workforce and teaching our students skills beneficial to the Wyoming economy is critical.  Concentration on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics along with Vocational and Agricultural education should be the focus of today's public school curriculum.  Preparing our students to succeed in a knowledge economy while staying connected to their Wyoming roots is important. Albany County has a wonderful and diverse educational system that inclusively teaches the whole child, we need to provide our teachers the support they need to continue to give the gift of knowledge.  Ensuring funds go towards effective classroom education, rather than the bureaucracy of education, is a top priority.

PUBLIC SERVICES

Maintaining support for law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical service providers along with responsible funding of public safety programs is necessary for residents.  Law enforcement agencies must be adequately funded for training, equipment and retention.  As a volunteer firefighter, EMT and search & rescue team member, I know how critical these services are to citizens and the importance of positive outcomes for citizens in need. Community paramedicine programs should be explored as ways to get medical services to rural communities and underserved residents. Taxpayer funds must be used wisely in maintaining these services and to ensure all Albany County residents have equitable access to law enforcement, fire, medical and public safety.

U.W. and Community Colleges

The University of Wyoming is a major contributor to Albany County's economy, along with the Albany County campus of LCCC, and continued State support is crucial.  Investing in the people of UW and our community colleges is essential.  Students, Staff and Faculty all have a vital role in education and research.  Research at UW can directly benefit Wyoming through business creation and improvement of existing industries.  Attracting and retaining the best talent should be the focus of Wyoming's investment in UW and community college system.  Expanding degree programs relevant to Wyoming, such as UW's new Construction Management Program and expanding educational opportunities for Veterans allow Wyoming residents to use their talents in-state.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Responsible and sustainable development is critical to protecting the public lands and open spaces we all enjoy.  Multiple-use of public lands for recreation, agriculture, timber and energy production needs to be balanced.  Forest health needs to be properly managed to protect resources, incomes, and private property.  Energy development can happen while protecting air quality and watersheds.  Collaborative solutions for multiple-use management of natural resources for the benefit of all Albany County residents is essential.  The State must develop a sustainable long-term vision for its energy and natural resources development portfolio that is responsive to market demands, builds on the talents of Wyoming's workforce and respects the rights of private land owners. 

 

Effective Representation for Albany County

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ABOUT MATTHEW

Matthew has lived, learned and worked in Laramie and Albany County for 25 years.  He graduated from the University of Wyoming with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Electrical Engineering.  He is a Research Scientist at University of Wyoming in the Atmospheric Science Department where he supports cutting edge atmospheric and environmental research as an electrical and software engineer.  Matthew is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Wyoming and is currently completing a certificate program in Construction Management at UW.

Matthew and his wife, Kim, met while attending UW nearly 20 years ago and have put down roots in Albany County where they raise two wonderful and energetic children, who enjoy all types of recreation in Wyoming's great outdoors. Matthew looks forward to seeing his children find career opportunities in Wyoming and continue to call Wyoming "home".

Matthew grew up in southeast Wyoming and has long-standing ties to many parts of this great State.  Working in the oil and gas fields during college taught him the value of hard work and showed him how energy development can happen in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Matthew believes that volunteering and service are an essential part of belonging to a community.  He is a volunteer firefighter and EMT for one of the volunteer fire departments in Albany County and is a member of Albany County's volunteer search and rescue organization.  Matthew volunteers for Wyoming State Parks outreach and trail maintenance activities.  He is an active member of his church.

Public lands and multiple-use recreation are very important to Matthew.  He enjoys fly fishing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and motorcycle touring on dirt or pavement.  He currently serves as the chairperson for the Wyoming State Trails Advisory Council.  He was initially appointed to the council as a multiple-use representative in 2002 by Governor Jim Geringer.  He served as a supporting member of the motorized-recreation representation team on Wyoming Governor Matt Mead's 2016 Outdoor Recreation Task Force.  He regularly advocates for multiple-use public lands management and is an active member of the local snowmobile club. 

Matthew strongly believes that representing Albany County as a Representative in the Wyoming State Legislature is truly a public service and is a duty that must be exercised with humility and fidelity.  Together with their elected representatives, residents of Albany County and Laramie have a shared responsibility for building a stronger community and a prosperous Wyoming.

 

Why Should I Vote for You?

This question has been asked of me by various folks in HD14 and I wanted to share one of the personal responses I made:

I have lived in Albany County for 25 years, having residing in Laramie and now the county.  I met my wife at a church retreat while attending graduate school at UW.  We were fortunate enough to find employment opportunities locally, myself at the University and her with the Albany County School District.  My family is my strength and my goal, regardless of the outcome of the elections, is to work to make Albany County a place my children can call home.  Three generations of my wife’s family have made Laramie home and I am hopeful my children have this opportunity as well.  I am invested in our community and volunteer extensively as a firefighter and EMT for one of our rural volunteer fire departments and am currently the vice-president of the local search and rescue organization.  Helping people when they are most in need is something that I feel is very important and is a direct reflection on the community.  When individuals can provide assistance, show compassion and make somebody’s day a bit brighter, the entire community benefits.  This innate desire to serve our community is the primary reason I am running for House District 14 Representative.  Service in the legislature is truly about self-sacrifice for the betterment of my community.

 

Our county is a unique mix of opportunity and talent that is not found elsewhere in Wyoming.  This diversity is what makes Albany County attractive and I want to work to facilitate growth while remaining true to our western heritage and the intrinsic reasons many of us live here – friendly faces, solitude, personal freedoms, private property rights, clean air and water and recreational opportunities.  I feel there are three pillars that support our communities: economy, education and recreation.  The continued ability to earn, learn and enjoy locally will be the focus of my representation.  Opportunities and challenges facing the state of Wyoming and our community fall into one of these three categories.  Concentrating on these allows us to stand secure regardless of the underlying trials – much like a three-legged stool is always steady.

 

Everybody in our community has a shared responsibility to make Albany County and the City of Laramie the best they can be.  I strongly believe that legislators are not solely responsible for expanding and diversifying our economy or improving citizen’s quality of life; it is the community as a whole that must embrace these responsibilities.  Legislators must support legislation that enables and facilitates growth, growth that is directly driven by our small business owners, entrepreneurs, agricultural businesses and educational institutions.  Those elected must consult with community members about what can be done at the state-level to enhance local talent and resources.  I will be the first to admit that I do not have all of the answers or solutions, but I know where to find them and the resources to leverage to make an educated decision.  I will look at all aspects of diversifying our local economy based on local expertise and explore ideas presented by the community.

 

My wife comes from a family of life-long teachers, all with a true passion for giving the gift of knowledge to our students.  Through her, I have developed a greater appreciation for our teachers and the compassion they have for their students and the community.  My children also have a knack for giving me their unbiased opinions as well.  These direct connections to our schools and students allow me first-hand knowledge of where schools are excelling and where support is needed.  A quality education that provides locally relevant skills is vitally important to growing a community and its workforce. I want to ensure that our schools invest in their people and maintain a curriculum that includes STEM, vocational and agricultural opportunities that will allow our students to build their careers in Albany County by continuing to operate a family business, seeking additional education or championing entrepreneurship.  Our post-secondary schools need to be attentive to the needs of Wyoming’s citizens and provide majors relevant and connected to Wyoming and her industries.  Supporting research at UW and our community colleges focused on direct service to the state through leadership in responsible energy development, technology expansion and agriculture is directly related to a strong economy.

 

I have spent many years working on recreational public land access issues at the local, state and federal levels.  Given the many recreational opportunities around our county, this is directly beneficial to maintaining the opportunities we all enjoy, while balancing use and conservation of resources for recreation, grazing, wildlife and energy.  I am a multiple-use representative and current chair of the Wyoming State Trails Advisory Council, originally appointed by the Governor of Wyoming in 2002.  I also assisted with Governor Mead’s 2016 Outdoor Recreation Task Force.  Through these, I have direct experience in developing collaborative solutions to land access issues.  Public land access and recreational opportunity discussions are often quite intense, given the strong convictions of various user groups.  I have the ability to respectfully listen to both sides of an issue, gather facts and help develop collaborative solutions.  Maintaining public land access, enhancing recreational opportunities and supporting tourism, while respecting private property rights, will be one of my goals.

 

I feel my greatest strength is my broad range of knowledge and experiences and my ability to work with people of various areas of expertise, backgrounds, demographics and levels of education.  I am an electrical and software engineer at UW and work on instrument development and airborne and mobile research platforms.  The engineering design process is very relatable to representing constituents and helping to create legislation that is, hopefully, for the good of the public. Asking questions and listening to answers to gather information, researching all aspects of the problem and imagining a broad range of solutions before planning a sensible solution are key to solving many of today’s issues.  I have the ability to work with students, educators and professionals as well as those in technical, vocational and service careers.  Additional experiences in the oil and gas industry, aviation, recreation and private consulting gives me working knowledge of a variety of industries and ideas for where the community could expand.

I travel quite extensively and enjoy seeing different communities and what makes them thrive.  This is also a learning opportunity and a chance to bring new ideas back to Albany County.  Communities must maintain their identity while being open to new ideas for growth and livability.  Through my volunteer service, I have good working relationships with local fire, medical and law enforcement employees and understand the stresses they experience while truly doing their best to help and protect local citizens.

The dynamics of Wyoming’s economy and current events require innovative and sustainable solutions that I feel I can help develop.  A successful legislator must be like a river: a balance of depth and breadth in knowledge and experiences, the ability to go with the flow while maintaining a straight focus when necessary and possessing the energy necessary to generate productive results.

Thank you for your willingness to participate in democracy and spending your time to educate yourself about the candidates.  I admire your desire to find a candidate that will best represent your views and those of your family.  I would be honored to be that candidate.

Sincerely,

Matthew Burkhart

 

CONTACT

Send Matt a Message

Contact Matt

307-314-9858

matt@mattburkhart.com

PO Box 2268 Laramie, WY 82073

Volunteer

Does Matt represent your ideas for a stronger Albany County and prosperous Wyoming? We are always looking for volunteers, contact us and let us know how you would like to help.

Do you think you might want to host a yard sign or talk to your neighbors about building a stronger Albany County?  Get in touch with Matt, and help out.

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Thank you for your support and your vote in the General Election,  

November 3, 2020.

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