Sheridan businessman Bill Dahlin is making diversification of the state economy the centerpiece of his campaign for Governor of Wyoming.

Dahlin, who is a Republican, became the first announced  2018 candidate for Governor of Wyoming on June 20 when he created the Dahlin for Governor committee. Candidates cannot formally file for office with the Wyoming Secretary of States office until the time between May 17 and June 1 of 2018.

But Dahlin has created a campaign website and Facebook page and says he is running. He has never held political office.

Dahlin is a Wyoming native who grew up in the Downer Addition area of Sheridan, according to his website. He attended Sheridan College and Rocky Mountain Business College in Billings, Montana.

He started working for the Burlington Northern Railroad as a laborer, eventually rising to the railroad's corporate offices. In 1991 he launched a rail car service company, which he sold a decade later. He still is active in various business ventures, according to his campaign site.

Dahlin says he sees a lot of opportunities for diversification in the state, mentioning banking as one industry that he thinks has growth potential. He says another idea he has for encouraging business would be a highway toll that would be levied only on vehicles with out of state plates.

Occupants of those vehicles could get their toll fee redeemed if they made a purchase of something at least equal in value to the tolls. Dahlin also says he thinks in general Wyoming has the potential for growth induced by "being creative and creating things." Dahlin says he thinks it is "up to the governor to lead the charge" on diversification.

While Dahlin is the first candidate to formally announce he's running, he could face a field of better-known veteran Wyoming politicians. Former congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, Secretary of State Ed Murray and Treasurer Mark Gordon, all Republicans are frequently mentioned as potential candidates for the state's top elected office in 2018.

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