Stith emphasizes small government
For Clark Stith, the office of Secretary of State provides a match to his skill set and the opportunity to address Wyoming’s growing government sector.
“I really do care about the state and direction it is going,” Stith explains. “I’m a small government republican and a small government kind of guy.”
Stith, who grew up in a small town in Kansas, has two children Kirsi, 18, and Steve,16, and practices law in Rock Springs.
Both Stith’s background and experience foster a skill set that is ideal for the office of Secretary of State, he says.
“I’m a business lawyer in Rock Springs, so my day job is to deal with the same laws the Secretary of State is charged with – corporations, limited liability companies, uniform commercial code, etc.,” Stith comments. “Being chairman of the Sweetwater County Republican Party forced me to figure out how election laws work on the ground.”
He adds, “I feel comfortable with the daily activities of the office.”
Politics, he continues, are an area he is passionate about.
As a major platform for his election campaign, Stith remarks that, likely because of the state’s large revenue streams relative to our population, Wyoming’s government sector has growth.
“It is a one-way ratchet of government growth,” Stith says. “Wyoming ranks number one for having the biggest percentage of its labor force employed by the federal, state and local government.”
He further notes that he believes the government should invest in the future, rather than in growth of government.
Additionally, Stith believes that government is appropriate in areas where the marketplace is unlikely to provide an adequate response to the state’s needs, such as in education.
“I think it is appropriate for the government to invest in those things,” he says. “I also think the agriculture community has interest in having the size of our government be appropriate.”
Stith says one of his goals of office is to work to right-size Wyoming’s government.
At the same time, Stith notes that the number of corporations in Wyoming has grown steadily in the past few years.
In visiting with the Secretary of State, Stith says it was predicted that more than three-quarters of Wyoming’s 112,000 companies do not own land, live in Wyoming, buy or sell anything in the state or employ Wyomingites.
“My proposal is those companies who don’t have business ties here tell us who they are,” he explains. “By asking that question, my guess is that there will be thousands of companies who would go away.”
Stith predicts that many companies are shell companies laundering money, and because Wyoming grants a high level of anonymity to companies registered in the state, they can start up here without much trouble.
“If we ask for disclosure of who these companies are, it doesn’t require new employees or an enforcement team,” he comments. “I believe a lot of those companies will self-select and go away. I don’t think Wyoming should sell its good name for a $100 filing fee.”
Plan in office
As a result of growing government, Stith says, “One of my specific commitments is to reduce the staff of the Secretary of State’s Office by nine percent. That is three positions over four years.”
Stith feels that this effort would not be egregious and would be the first step in reducing the size of the government in its entirety.
Additionally, Stith hopes to unify the Republican Party in Wyoming.
“There has been robust debate inside the Republican Party,” he adds. “I hope to help unify Republicans.”
Boards and commissions
In serving as one of five elected officials on a variety of boards and commissions in the state, Stith says, “One thing I’ve realized about the boards that all five electeds sit on is that it is probably a good idea to have a good working relationship with other members.”
Further, he comments the he has a good working relationship with Governor Mead and supports working together, even though consensus may not always be reached.
Additionally, when looking at state lands in particular, Stith says he supports the current systems allowing for multiple use, including grazing leasing.
“Even with a government sector that is too large, the state will never have enough people to manage all these disparate parcels of land,” Stith says, “but the good news is, we don’t need to because we have grazing lessees who are doing it.”
He supports continued use of grazing to manage state lands and multiple use into the future.
“I believe in multiple use, and I stand against environmental extremism,” he says.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.