Haynes will be at the Northwest College DeWitt Student Center Lounge from 6-8:30 p.m. tonight (Tuesday). He held a fundraiser in Clark Sunday night and held a town hall meeting in Lovell on Monday.
“I am running to reform our state government in several areas, beginning with education,” Haynes said in an interview with the Powell Tribune. “I will also establish the proper working relationship with the federal government. I feel the governor could have a lot more success taking that approach.”
He will run against Gov. Matt Mead and Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill in the August Republican primary. Hill announced her intention to run last year, while Mead made his plans clear after the legislative session.
It won’t be his first bid for the office; Haynes ran for governor as an independent in 2010 and received 7.3 percent of the vote as a write-in candidate, totaling 13,796 votes.
“For a write-in candidate, that 7 and a half percent is more than anyone has ever done,” he said. “And I did it in a three-month period. That’s a pretty good showing.”
Deciding to run for office for the first time in his life was caused by his perception that the nation and state were headed in the wrong direction, Haynes said.
“Seeing the God-given rights being eroded caused it,” he said. “We’re losing our rights to do many things. And we’re losing our rights to educate our children.”
Haynes said there is simply “too much interference” in people’s personal lives today, as well as too much regulation on businesses. Those are issues he has faced in the past, he said.
“I’ve dealt with the federal government, face-to-face, one-to-one, and I’ve had quite bit of success,” Haynes said.
He said he has done so by respecting authority but by insisting they respect his rights. That’s an approach he would bring to the governor’s office, Haynes said.
He said he feels he can win both the nomination and the general election.
“This is not a symbolic campaign,” Haynes said. “We’ve received tremendous encouragement and support during this exploratory phase. We’re certain that we can win by the grace of almighty God.”
The religious theme is something he returned to in the interview, saying he has been successful in business “by the grace of God.” Haynes said his diverse business career, from entry-level jobs to years as a medical doctor and then top positions in health care companies, including one he owns, make him a qualified candidate.
“I will bring my senior executive leadership experience to the race and the office,” he said. “I operated a successful solo specialty surgical practice. I am an organic grass-fed beef rancher and an entrepreneur in health care coverage and employee benefits.”
Haynes said he believes he has an “excellent chance” to take office in January, and said he has been receiving a lot of positive feedback as he tours Wyoming.
“Fundraising’s going really well right now,” Haynes said, estimating he will need between $500,000 and $1 million to run a competitive race.
“We’re on pace to do that,” he said.
Haynes said he wants to engage in several debates with his opponents, and wants the candidates to “come in cold,” without knowing the topics that will be discussed or with any advance knowledge of the questions.
“When you’re sitting in office, do you really know what’s going to come in?” he said. “I think debates are critical for voters to make their opinion.”
Haynes said he has nothing personally against Mead or Hill, and thinks Hill has been a good superintendent of public instruction. But he said he is disappointed in Mead’s performance.
“Clearly I don’t think he’s done a good job. If I thought he did a good job, I would not be running,” he said. “He should not be re-elected.”
‘Look at my body of work’
Haynes said he is calling on voters to judge the three candidates by their life experiences and accomplishments.
“Look at my body of work. That’s a body of work that voters should evaluate,” he said. “Obviously I think I can be the best candidate with my knowledge of and belief in the Constitution. I am saying compare what they are offering to what I am offering.”
Haynes said an issue he is focused on right now is Common Core Standards, a national program on language arts and math goals. Those standards are in place in Wyoming and several other states now, but he said he wants to see it repealed.
“Common Core will bring devastation to the future of our youth to the state and the country as well,” Haynes said. “I will lead and facilitate the reform of education so teachers are free to teach and parents are kept involved and control is kept at the local level. Thus, I will abolish Common Core.
“I have plans for an expanded role for our community colleges and University of Wyoming Outreach,” he said.
Haynes opposed the passage of Senate File 104, which stripped Hill of most of her duties. He said he was not at all surprised when the state Supreme Court rejected the law in January, declaring it unconstitutional.
Haynes said he strongly opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision which would alter the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation.
“The recent decree by an unelected bureaucracy, the Environmental Protection Agency, unilaterally and negatively affects millions of Wyoming acres and thousands of Wyoming residents,” he said. “This is simply the result of an improper and unprofessional working relationship with the federal agencies and in this case the Wind River Reservation. My business experience bringing seemingly disparate people (companies) together to achieve a purpose will help a great deal in this area.”
Haynes said he feels Mead has done a poor job of working with the Washakie Tribe and he is “very disappointed” by that.
“He should have told them we want to engage in a thoughtful conversation and work together — we need each other — for a meaningful discussion,” Haynes said. “And that hasn’t happened.”
He said other issues he will address during the campaign include health care, over-taxation, over-regulation and dependable funding for our counties, cities and towns. He said he will be a proponent of individual liberties.
“I have concrete plans to address these and a system to account for and address the unforeseen,” he said. “The other candidates have not clearly articulated any issues to my knowledge.”
Although he lives in southeast Wyoming, Haynes has made several appearances in the northwest corner of the state. His campaign manager, Fi Brewer, and statewide coordinator, Shirley Tidwell, both live in Cody.
A diverse life and career
Haynes was born in Shreveport, La., in 1948, and grew up on a produce farm with his parents and four siblings.
He was raised a Democrat, but has been a Republican for most of his adult life, he said.
“The (Democratic) party’s changed,” Haynes said. “The party changed a great deal from when I grew up, when it had very strong Judeo-Christian values. Seems like myself and Ronald Reagan saw the same light; he was a Democrat, too, you know.”
He said he knew early on he wanted more for himself; he was determined to get a quality education.
“I paid for my education as a waiter, Teamster (freight worker/truck driver) and stevedore,” he said in an email.
Haynes earned a mechanical engineering degree from Southern University in 1969, and then took an engineering job with the Kennecott Copper Corporation Research Center in Salt Lake City Utah.
Still not satisfied, he enrolled in the University of Utah School of Medicine and became a board-certified surgeon in adult and pediatric urology. Haynes said he had an “innate need or desire to help people” and also wanted to be in control of his own destiny.
“I wanted to have more direct ability to help people,” he said.
Haynes and his family came to Wyoming 30 years ago, settling in Cheyenne, where he opened a practice.
While the 2010 bid for governor was his first race for elective office, he noted that he has been selected by his peers for leadership positions in the past.
He was elected vice chief of staff and chairman of patient care at then-DePaul Hospital, which has now merged with United Medical Center. He was chosen as president of Laramie County Stock Growers, president of Pole Mountain Cattlemen, regional vice president of Wyoming Stock Growers, founding board member and president of Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming, and was a board member of R-CALF-USA thus the regional director for Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.
Haynes served two six-year terms as a member of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, where he served as vice president of the board and chaired several committees, including the Fiscal and Legal Affairs Committee.
Haynes and his wife own and manage Mountain Benefits Management Company, a third-party administrator of health benefits with offices in Cheyenne and Worland. If that hasn’t been enough to keep him busy, Haynes raises organic grass-fed beef cattle through the Thunderbasin Land Livestock & Investment Company, headquartered at his ranch in Albany County.
He married Barbara Brumfield in 1968 and the couple had four children: Kenya, Ayodele, Taylor III and Enioma. Barbara Haynes died in 1998. Haynes and his second wife, Elisabeth “Beth” Wasson were wed in 2002.