Experience is top in Illoway campaign for Secretary of State
A diverse background and broad base of experience are among the traits that qualify Pete Illoway for the office of Secretary of State, he says.
“I’m very optimistic about the state,” Illoway adds, “and I want to move the state forward.”
With 14 years in the legislature and experience working in the same arenas that the Secretary of State’s Office operates, he says he is prepared to serve Wyoming.
After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in farm and ranch business management, Illoway worked in the USDA statistician’s office, later moving to the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.
“My prime responsibility at the time was to help with the weed and pest programs in the state,” he explains. “Later, I did some economics work and seed and fertilizer sampling.”
Illoway moved to the private sector, working for a company called Coastal Chem, Inc., now Dyno Nobel. The company produces nitrogen fertilizers and explosives.
“I worked for 21 years in a variety of positions there,” he says, “from public relationship and safety to purchasing of natural gas and feedstocks for the plant.”
After spending several years lobbying and working on public relations in Illoway retired and went to work for Cheyenne LEADS, the town’s economic development organization.
“I worked for Cheyenne LEADS for 3.5 years, at which time I ran for the legislature in 1998,” he says.
Before running for legislature, Illoway was involved in acquisition of the Cheyenne Business Park and WalMart distribution center at Cheyenne LEADS.
State government again
Illoway began in the Wyoming Legislature in 1999, kicking off 14 years of service.
“I met some wonderful people and worked with some really great folks,” he says. “I was chairman of the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee for eight years.”
Since retiring from the legislature, Illoway has served on the Wyoming Business Council Board and as a lobbyist.
If elected to office, Illoway looks to provide the high level of service maintained by the Secretary of State for a number of years.
“As the Capitol Building is being renovated, the office has to move, but it has to stay open,” he says. “That will be a challenge, but the office will stay open and will be responsive.”
He further adds that opportunities for improvements in the elections division.
“I think there are things that can be done in teaching people why one vote is important,” Illoway notes. “It is also important to take a look at reporting requirements.”
“People say that the office works really well,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”
However, to continue the level of service offered, Illoway notes that improvements in technology should occur.
In the elections division, Illoway highlights new technologies that may help improve reporting of election results.
“We need to take a look at the business division,” he says. “It is probably a bit archaic because everything is done by hand and not by computer. I want to be able to fill out forms online and file online.”
While improving technology within the office is not inexpensive, Illoway’s experience with the legislature will be helpful in obtaining funding, he says.
“We need to embrace technology more,” he says, noting that additional technology can also be used within the boards and commissions the Secretary of State serves on.
For example, Illoway supports the use of video teleconferencing for meeting of the State Loan and Investment Board and State Board of Land Commissioners, allowing communities to participate without the expense that travelling to Cheyenne can bring to some.
He adds, “I think Wyoming needs to embrace technology 100 percent to make it easier to appear before these boards.”
“I’ve been in Wyoming since 1963, and a portion of that time has been in agriculture,” Illoway says. “I can’t say I understand everything that goes on in agriculture, but it is a very important part of Wyoming.”
Despite his lack on hands-on agriculture experience, Illoway comments, “I know where to go if I need questions answered.”
He further notes support for private property rights and the continued use of land for agriculture, rather than development.
“Having served in the legislature, I may not have always worked on ag issues, but I know about them because I had to vote on them,” Illoway comments.
With the insight into Wyoming’s culture and the Secretary of State’s office, he adds, “I want to be Secretary of State. I’m not running for any other office. My door is going to be open, the telephone will be answered, and we will be 100 percent responsive to the citizens of Wyoming.”