CASPER, Wyo — “If we want to change Washington, we cannot send the same tired politicians who are beholden to the special interest,” Robert Short said in an email to Oil City News.
The Converse County commissioners chairman and owner of multiple businesses is running for Mike Enzi’s retiring U.S. Senate seat alongside John Barrasso in Washington. The Republican primary is August 18.
Short is also chairman of the Energy and Environment Committee for the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, where he said he’d represented all Wyoming counties in natural resource and environmental issues.
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Short said his work in government and owning multiple businesses have given him a wealth of experience working with people from diverse backgrounds, solving problems, listening to different points of view and adapting to changing situations.
On legislating from the national level, Short said reclaiming energy and manufacturing independence were top priorities for the nation and for Wyoming, specifically.
“We must repatriate stranded capital and our critical manufacturing sector through investments into our electrical systems, working to increase raw materials development, consumer goods, agricultural production and transportation efficiencies,” he said.
He added that he’d work to balance budgets and stop overspending due to “government redundancy, inefficiency and bloat,” while reducing the tax burden and incentivizing private investments.
What one fundamental shift would you like to see the U.S. Senate take?
“Our energy resources must be maximized to eliminate our reliance on foreign sources and the influence of foreign actors,” Short said.
“When OPEC flinches, our energy sector convulses,” he said. “This is unacceptable for a world-leading economy.” He added that foreign actors were dumping uranium and trona on domestic markets.
Short said the federal government must help open new export markets for our coal, oil, and gas and that blocking Wyoming coal from export off the West coast was a clear violation of the Commerce Clause.
Short also said that existing leases and permits in the energy sector needed to be extended as producers navigate the downturn in prices.
Short added, “Accelerating the decommissioning of power plants jeopardizes our electricity base which puts all aspects of our economy in jeopardy. We also need to stand with Wyoming agriculture and restore country-of-origin labeling and increase our domestic meat processing capacity.”
He said he’d also rein in the heavy-handed regulations that affect small businesses. “While appropriate regulation is beneficial, the out-of-control agencies which seek to create laws through regulatory overreach must be reminded of their mandates and held to account,” Short said. “We can accomplish [energy and manufacturing independence] while protecting Wyoming’s agriculture, tourism, abundant wildlife and environment.”
What resolutions or measures would you like to introduce or reintroduce?
“We were once a nation of innovative genius and unstoppable drive. We must again become a manufacturing powerhouse,” Short said, adding that both Wyoming and the nation’s financial outlook would improve greatly by getting people back to work and producing goods, services and natural resources domestically.
“We have outsourced jobs critical to our base prosperity and today we see the security risk, as we must rely on foreign actors to provide us with critical resources to maintain our military, medical and communications.”
“Today, China manufactures most of our antibiotics. What if they cut off the supply?”
Short added: “China builds most of our next-generation communications hardware. Does Huawei truly no longer build a ‘backdoor’ into these devices? China builds many drones that fly over our country. Do those drones ‘share’ our infrastructure data? We can no longer live with the belief that cheaper is better, because we can clearly see that it is not.”
Short is an electrical engineer and said he’s worked in science, technology, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, propulsion and medical fields.
Short told Oil City News at a political forum that Wyoming was a prime testing ground for expanding the use of drones in industry, including agriculture. He added that his company has been building a drone-operating apprenticeship program.
“We want to work on bringing prototype drone manufacturing to Wyoming,” he said.
How do you think it would be working with Senator Barrasso?
“I have known Senator Barrasso for several years and we have a collegial relationship stemming from work between the Converse County Commissioners and his office. I won’t take it personally that he broke the long-standing gentlemen’s rule of neutrality in contested Senate primaries.”