Northwest College assistant professor of English Mike Konsmo announced his candidacy for the U.S. House today (Thursday).
“My vision is, I want the citizens of Wyoming to control the decisions that affect the citizens of Wyoming; I don’t want the federal government to direct Wyoming’s future,” Konsmo said. “On a personal level, I want to be accessible and available and positive as a political candidate, and I want to represent Wyoming in (Washington) D.C. with confidence and knowledge and respect.”
Current Rep. Cynthia Lummis is not running for re-election in November. So far Konsmo will be up against Tim Stubson, Charlie Tyrrel, Jason Senteney, Rex Rammell — all of whom will participate in the first Republican debate in Washakie County on Jan. 23. Konsmo said he plans to join the debate.
Konsmo originates from Seattle, with his undergrad completed at University of Southern California and three graduate degrees in English, history and film from University of Southern California and Montana State University.
As a student, he worked on ranches and at the airport in Bozeman, Montana, loading and refueling planes, he said.
“I am not a career politician,” Konsmo said. “Just a normal person who wants to represent Wyoming in the best way possible.”
Now in his seventh year of teaching at NWC, Konsmo now calls Powell, and Wyoming, his home.
“I came here for three reasons — I wanted to work in a great education system, wanted to be close to Yellowstone National Park and wanted to live in a place I really enjoyed, small town life,” Konsmo said. “I love Wyoming because it’s true; I love it.”
Konsmo got his first taste for the political realm as an intern for former Oklahoma congressman Steve Largent during college.
“That was where this dream to run for Congress was born,” Konsmo said. “He was a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, so he was a childhood hero of mine — he was a man of character and values, and I just knew I would someday run for Congress and that is today.”
His decision to run in 2016 was made prior to Lummis’ announcement that she was not running again, he said.
“I knew I wanted to pursue it 100 percent, so I spent the last few months preparing,” Konsmo said, noting that the spark originated from his desire to help students. “I see a lot of students going to college, improving their skills, becoming ready for the real world and having to move away from Wyoming because there are not enough jobs, industries and opportunities; and I want to help those students make a transition to the real world with great success.”
The $1.1 trillion omnibus bill passed last month to keep the federal gears turning through this year, and Lummis was among those opposed to the bill.
“Gargantuan, end-of-the year funding bills have been the standard fare in Congress for years now, and taxpayers have suffered as a result,” Lummis said in a press release following the bill’s 316-113 passage.
Konsmo noted that the bill was “very expensive” and that he was supportive of creating a balanced federal budget and concerned about the increasing national debt.
“What will always guide me in my decision making is what is best for Wyoming and its citizens — every decision has to be made with that idea as the main criteria,” Konsmo said.
Konsmo said he plans to make the rounds to all 23 of Wyoming’s counties starting this weekend to speak with residents and find out what’s on their minds.
“This campaign is not about me. I want to avoid the phrase ‘my campaign.’ I want this to be ‘our campaign,’ I want to represent the people in Wyoming and what they want,” Konsmo said.
For more information about Konsmo’s campaign, go to konsmoforcongress.com or facebook.com/konsmoforcongress, email him at email@example.com or call 254-8286.