Jacksonite Friess to run for Wyoming governor

April 21, 2018 GMT

Jackson resident, billionaire investor and philanthropist Foster Friess announced at the GOP convention in Laramie on Friday that he will run for governor of Wyoming in 2018.

Friess had talked about a run against fellow Republican Sen. John Barrasso for a seat in Congress, but rather than challenging the popular two-term senator Friess decided his chances were better in an open gubernatorial race. Gov. Matt Mead has to step down due to term limits.

“When Steve Bannon asked me to run for Senate, it was the first serious request I’ve ever received, and I have committed to him to take time to explore it,” Friess told the News&Guide in October. “I only wish I were running against someone other than John Barrasso, for whom I have the utmost respect.”

Friess joins a crowded Republican field in the primary, including State Treasurer Mark Gordon, Cheyenne entrepreneurs Sam Galeotos and Bill Dahlin, attorney Harriet Hageman and doctor Taylor Haynes, along with veterinarian and rodeo organizer Rex Rammell.

Former state legislator Mary Throne is a sole Democrat to announce so far.

When Friess was considering running for Senate his main focus was on health care reform, a topic Wyoming has struggled with since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. If elected governor he could push his policy ideas.

His proposal is to group the entire state, and the country if he could, into three categories: “the poor, the very sick and the 90 percent of the rest of us.”

“The Affordable Care Act attempted to put everybody in the same boat,” he said, “it has truly created some disasters where many people won’t have insurance or they have high deductibles.”

Similar to the Cassidy-Graham Bill, which was introduced to replace Obamacare but was defeated in Congress a little over a month ago, Friess proposed a funding system he described as “block granting health care dollars to the states.” Friess’ proposal would rely on Medicare and Medicaid to send checks directly to the boards of directors of each of the community clinics where people would have unlimited access, just like they have in emergency rooms, and pay according to their ability.

One-third of those subsidies for the poor and very sick would be financed from Medicare, one-third from Medicaid and one-third from people’s ability to pay, he proposed.

“Many Americans think Obama was doing us all a favor by forcing the insurance companies to remove the caps as to how much they had to pay for each individual life,” he said. “This immediately precipitated the insurance companies’ need to raise premiums on all the rest of us.

“If we restore those caps,” he said, “then when people exceed them they can migrate into the safety net where they can pay according to their ability and also be subsidized by state and federal funds.”

A detailed look at Friess’ platform and how he stacks up against the other gubernatorial candidates can be found in next week’s News&Guide.