I grew up on the family ranch in Kaycee, which is a little town full of western history. I grew up among people who had come into the country in covered wagons, who, as children, remembered the roundup wagons and cowboys that made Wyoming the legend it was. Just south of our family ranch is the Hole in the Wall country made famous by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Kaycee itself is famous for a brief but infamous "war" between the Cattle Barons of Cheyenne and the Homesteaders of Johnson County. So I grew up knowing firsthand what Wyoming had struggled through to become a state.
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Growing up on a ranch also gave me a perspective on the value of hard work, the preciousness of rain, and the value of careful management of resources that has stayed with me all my life. They are lessons I continue to learn today on our ranch just as they are lessons that have colored the meaning of a favorite Theodore Roosevelt quote: "Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."
Wyoming and her citizens have benefited from the entrepreneurship, enterprise, and sheer drive of her remarkable people and the bounty of her diverse natural resources. We have benefited from all of our wonders: our beautiful landscapes from Devil's Tower, Flaming Gorge and Red Desert to our iconic mountain ranges like the Tetons and Big Horns just to name a few; we are the headwaters for three of our Nation's mightiest rivers. We are known for our wisdom, our wildlife and the leadership we have demonstrated in their management. But we are also the Nation's largest producer of energy per capita, and the place historian T.A. Larson has called, "the place everyone else would want to be if they had a chance to do it again."
I have tried to bring my experience growing up west of that little town, learning from the folks who had fought through good times and bad to make a life, to my years working for an oil and gas exploration company, my time working to safeguard our natural wonders, and the experience I gained as a small businessman and board member of one of the Federal Reserve System's regional banks to my tenure here as Treasurer. Thankfully, my job has been made easier by the excellent work of several predecessors notably the most immediate Joe Meyer, Cynthia Lummis, and Stan Smith. It is an extraordinary honor and a staggering responsibility to serve in the State Treasurer's Office, but it is an honor and a responsibility I share with a dedicated and talented staff. When times are good, as they have been recently, it is a pleasant job; but when times are hard as they currently are for Wyoming, it is a rewarding job.
The Wyoming Treasurer's Office routinely returns over $1,500 dollars to Wyoming citizens in taxes saved. We do that with a tiny staff of just 26 people across all the responsibilities of the office. As we go forward and Wyoming is forced to rely more and more on the investments this office makes, we will work in my time here to make sure that Wyoming continues to lead the nation in wise and prudent investment management. Part of that process will be to grow and develop the Treasurer's Office to meet the challenges of our new responsibilities efficiently and with talent.
Thank you for this honor, and thank you for your attention to what we do and why we do it.