By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
The president of Wyoming’s Senate on Tuesday filed as a candidate for the secretary of state’s office, less than 12 hours after current Secretary of State Ed Buchanan announced he would not seek re-election.
Sen. Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, filed as a candidate for the office late Tuesday, becoming the only person to announce as a candidate so far during the filing period, which ends May 27.
Dockstader said after he finished up his term as Senate president this year, he began studying the secretary of state’s office.
“I still have work to do in the Senate and I wondered if I could do that at a different level,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “Then Ed made his announcement today. I texted my wife and said ‘Well?’ and she texted back one word — ‘File!'”
Buchanan had announced in April he would run for a second term as secretary of state but announced Tuesday that he would seek a state district judge’s seat in Goshen County instead.
Dockstader, the publisher of the Star Valley Independent newspaper and owner of radio station KRSV, both in Afton, has served in the Senate since 2009 after serving for two years in the state House of Representatives.
Dockstader said he realized he could address many of the same issues in the secretary of state’s office he could in his last two years in the Senate, including looking at ways to bolster the state’s energy industry.
“I want to keep growing the economy,” he said. “I don’t want to abandon mineral industry, that’s what takes us to the bank. I think there’s a lot of room in the secretary of state’s office to do that.”
Dockstader said he was also looking forward to working with the Elections Division within the secretary of state’s office to guarantee election integrity. He noted that the Legislature this year approved a voter identification law.
“We were hearing people wanted us to get involved in that and we got some legislation out, but there’s more coming,” he said. “We want to make people feel secure about the election process.”
If elected, Dockstader said he will make a point of traveling the state to determine the needs and wants of state residents which are addressed by boards such as the State Loan and Investment Board.
“Being out in the far west, we don’t get the representation of other areas,” he said. “I want to head out of Cheyenne, take the office and responsibility and head across the state and get people out and talk to them. You can’t do it all from Cheyenne.”
This past legislative session, Dockstader co-sponsored a bill to outlaw the collection of absentee ballots by third parties, unless given prior permission to do so by the voter. The bill was not considered in the Senate.
He co-sponsored another bill requiring employers to grant exemptions to employees for COVID vaccination mandates. This bill died in committee.
He was also the sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment that would provide property tax exemptions for the elderly and infirm. While approved in the Senate, the measure died in the House.