Jackson businessman and long-time Republican activist Foster Friess says addressing Wyoming's budget issues and improving state schools are among the top issues he would like to address if he is elected governor in 2018.

Friess said Monday on KGAB radio in Cheyenne, that while there has been considerable discussion about diversifying Wyoming's economy during the gubernatorial campaign, "in doing that I think we have to be careful that we don't forget our legacy industries. So, if oil and gas, which are 70 percent (of state government revenues through taxes) were to go to 75 percent, that would be just fine."

Friess said the key would be to set some money aside when energy prices are high, to help the state get through times when prices are low. On education, Friess said teachers need to take priority over new buildings and construction projects. He said another key to improving education in Wyoming is to cut down on educational bureaucracies.

But, when asked whether he would favor consolidating Wyoming school districts, he said that would need to be a local decision, not something imposed by the state.

Friess said the state role in diversifying the economy should consist of creating a favorable climate for business rather than trying to directly create jobs. That would include such things as low taxes, a strong infrastructure, and a well-educated workforce.

Friess said money spent on incentives to lure new businesses to Wyoming, such as those offered to lure the Weatherby rifle company to Sheridan, should instead go to strengthen existing Wyoming businesses, such as, for example, building new roads to factories and business outlets.

Friess also said if he is elected governor he will donate his annual salary as governor to charity.

Friess is one of several Republicans vying for the GOP nomination for governor of Wyoming. Others include Cheyenne businessman Sam Galeotos, Wyoming Treasurer Mark Gordon, Cheyenne Attorney Hageman, Laramie County doctor and businessman Taylor Haynes and Sheridan businessman Bill Dahlin.

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