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Candidate Questionnaire: Drew Perkins for Senate District 29

Drew Perkins is running for re-election to the Senate District 29 seat in the Wyoming Legislature. (Gregory Hirst, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Election season is underway and Oil City News has sent a list of questions to candidates for the Wyoming Legislature out of Natrona County who have filed to run in the primary election in August.

These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. Below, get to know Drew Perkins, who is running for reelection to the Senate District 29 seat in the Wyoming Legislature:

  1. Who are you? (Name, where you’re from, employment, hobbies, etc.)

I am Drew Perkins. My parents moved our family to Wyoming when I was 2, and to Casper when I was 4. I grew up in Casper: Pineview Elementary, East Jr. High, and Kelly Walsh. After college (the first time) I lived and worked in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. until I moved back to Wyoming in 1989 to attend law school at UW. My wife of 36 years, Kristie (Dittburner), is a Wyoming native, and we wanted to raise our family in Natrona County, so after law school we moved back to Casper. We have practiced law in Natrona County since 1992, the last 12 as a sole practitioner with my wife, our dogs and two part-time employees.

I love the outdoors. I golf, hunt, fish, hike, boat and off-road. I think being a grandparent is the best gig ever, and enjoy our four grandchildren, though they all live out of state. We love Wyoming. We love God and are highly active in our church, where we are currently serving as nursery leaders.

2. Why have you decided to run for office and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?

I was first elected to the Wyoming Senate in 2006 and took office in 2007. After being my wife’s husband, this has been the honor of my life to be trusted and elected to represent the people of SD 29. I have a servant’s heart. This was instilled in me by my parents. My mother represented Natrona County in the Wyoming House of Representative for 16 years in the ’80s and ’90s. I love serving and giving back to this great state.

My goals are to (1) continue to fight federal and state overreach and over-regulation; (2) keep Wyoming the lowest-taxed state in the country through improving the returns from state investments by an average of at least 1% per year (that is approximately $120 million per year of additional revenue without increasing taxes); (3) find a realistic and consistent way to appropriately allocate funds to education within existing revenues and resources; and (4) reform property taxes on residential property.

3. How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?

I will use 16 years of experience in the Senate and the legislative process and collaboration with affected stakeholders to reach common-sense solutions to these issues. I will continue to support existing industries and economic diversification. I will oppose increasing regulations and support common-sense reductions to existing regulation. I will help ensure the governor and attorney general have the necessary resources to fight back against federal overreach. I will work with the Treasurer to remove drag and improve the ability of his office to improve investment performance. I will push for education funding reforms to update or improve the funding model and look for additional educational innovation and opportunity in the public and private sectors to finance the best education for our children that Wyoming can realistically afford. I have been working on these issues and either proposed or supported legislation that continues to move Wyoming toward success in those areas.

4. What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?

I have plenty of experience and success in my 16 years in the Senate. I am currently serving as Senate Chairman of the Joint Appropriations Committee (oversee the budget) and Chairman of the Select Committee on Capital Finance and Investments (oversees the Treasurer and state investments). I was Senate President in 2019 and 2020, Majority Floor Leader in 2018 and 2017, Senate Vice President in 1016 and 2015. I have served on the Appropriations, Agriculture, Minerals, Revenue and Judiciary committees and have chaired and served on various task forces, special committees. I have authored and passed dozens of pieces of legislation over those 16 years ranging from modernizing organ transplants, reducing regulation on after-school care, protecting 2nd Amendment rights, to examining and improving efficiency in government.

I have practiced law in Wyoming since 1992. I hold a CPA certificate and have been the CFO of multiple companies. I have a B.S. in accounting from Brigham Young University and M.S. in taxation from Southeastern University and a J.D. from the University of Wyoming.

I am also familiar with local government. I was on the Natrona County Commission from 2002 to 2004, and served as its Chairman from 2005 to 2006. I have over 20 years of service as a board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming and as an adult leader in the Boy Scouts of America, and in many other community service organizations.

5. Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?

I have already proven that I am. I have six years of experience on the Appropriations Committee. Wyoming spends less on government now than it did 12 years ago — not counting inflation. I always keep in mind that state revenues are the money of Wyoming taxpayers.

6 and 7. (Candidate responded to these questions together) 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? How have you made your office or board more transparent and open with the public?

I have a strong record of supporting and improving transparency. As a Senate Judiciary Chairman, I led the successful effort to improve the open meetings laws and the access to information from government agencies. As Senate President, I led with others to improve the public access to legislative meetings though broadcast and virtual attendance, as well as recording legislative meetings and sessions. This is the people’s business and they have the right to see and hear what is going on.

8. 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?

It depends upon the situation. When presiding over committee meetings I have tried to make sure that I and the committee members have time to ask questions and try to ask questions that highlight the things that are important for committee members, including me, to understand about the issue. I have always believed that any vote should be based upon facts and knowledge, and should not be made because of fear, pressure, or not understanding an issue. I am not afraid to take a few extra minutes to ensure better understanding of an issue during the meeting. If the schedule does not allow for the necessary discussion, then I will seek information after the meeting or ask the speaker to provide additional information to the committee and me.

9. 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?

I plan to continue the major policy initiatives that I have been working on, and which I identified in question 2 above: education funding reform and property tax reform (which will require changing the Wyoming Constitution).

10. Is there anything the above questions didn’t ask that you would like to comment on? 

Serving as your state senator for the last 16 years has been a true honor. I have been effective and have one of the best success rates in passing bills that are important to Wyoming and Natrona County, and stopping bills that are harmful to Wyoming and Natrona County. I still have the fire and desire to use my experience and effectiveness to continue to represent the people of Senate District 29 and Natrona County with common sense, and my expertise in state finances and the legislative process. I humbly ask for your vote.

NOTE: All primary candidates who filed to run for a seat in the Wyoming Legislature were sent questionnaires at the same time and Oil City News will publish responses in the order they are received. Candidate responses are only edited for clarity and style.

If you are a candidate and did not see the questionnaire in your inbox, please email news@oilcity.news. Oil City News sent questionnaires to Natrona County candidates running in the primary for municipal, county office or a seat in the Wyoming Legislature based on email addresses shared by the Natrona County Clerk’s Office; if you would prefer the questionnaire sent to a different address, please let us know.