SWEETWATER COUNTY — John L. Freeman announces his bid for re-election to the Wyoming House of Representatives, District 60. Representative Freeman was first elected to the House in November 2010. House District 60 encompasses two-thirds of the City of Green River.
John Freeman has been active in Sweetwater County since 1979. In 2017, he was named Green River’s Distinguished Citizen. John has been a member of the Sweetwater County Outdoor Recreation Board, Green River Recreation Board, the first chairman of the Green River Greenbelt Task Force, a Trustee of Western Wyoming Community College and a past President of the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees.
John coached youth soccer for 14 years. Mr. Freeman was employed as US History and Government teacher in Sweetwater School District #1 for 32 years. John taught at Rock Springs Alternative High School and Rock Springs High School. Mr. Freeman retired from teaching in June of 2011 and later became Western Wyoming Community College’s part time High School Transition Coordinator. John currently assists students in Western’s service area to make a smooth transition from high school to college by encouraging prepared students to take college classes while still in high school. He serves as an advisor to WWCC’s Association of Non-Traditional Students (ANTS) and the student Veterans’ Club.
As a member of the Wyoming Legislature, Rep. Freeman has served on the House Education Committee, the Joint School Facilities Committee, the Management Council, The Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee (TRW), the Select Natural Resource Funding committee and the Select Committee on the Wyoming Value Added Energy and Industrial Plan. In addition to serving on these legislative committees, he served on the Governor’s School Safety Taskforce and Complete College Wyoming Committee. Rep. Freeman was selected to be on the Wyoming Distance Education Task Force.
Rep. Freeman predicts the 2019 Wyoming Legislature will continue to struggle to balance Wyoming’s budget due to low but improving mineral prices. The recently concluded 2018 budget session experienced two drastically different ways to balance Wyoming’s Budget. The Wyoming Senate wanted to drastically cut K12 education and use the rainy day fund (LRSA) to balance the budget. Rep. Freeman supported the Wyoming House’s position to use diverted savings revenue streams and secure more revenue from the state’s $20 billion dollars of reserves to fund education. In the end, the state will use the rainy day fund to balance the budget for one year of the biannual budget and trust income the other year. The 65th Wyoming Legislature will probably determine the long term solution to Wyoming’s budget challenge.
Rep. Freeman supported Gov. Mead’s ENDOW initiative that will attempt to diversify Wyoming’s economy by enhancing its infrastructure (air service and broadband), providing a trained workforce (computer science education and Career and Technical training) and other initiatives. Rep. Freeman has supported Wyoming’s second largest industry, tourism, while serving on the Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resource Committee. There is potential to grow Wyoming’s tourist industry by promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation like our neighboring states have. Rep. Freeman believes the state should continue to fund local governments to insure quality public services to Wyoming citizens and to gain the best value for Wyoming investments.
As a former teacher and college trustee, Representative Freeman is a strong experienced voice for Wyoming’s education system. This year, Wyoming’s K12 system was rated 7th in the nation for the second year in a row. The nation’s report card, NAPE, reported that Wyoming’s students are preforming fifth highest in the nation. Wyoming schools are the best performing state system in the western portion of the country. Providing quality education in Wyoming is not cheap. Wyoming spends over $16,000 per student. Most of this cost is caused by Wyoming’s low population spread across a very large state and the necessity to offer high salaries to attract and retain teachers.
K12 education has been cut over $100M during the current economic downturn. The Wyoming Legislature has not grant External Cost Adjustments (ECA) since 2010 resulting in a 17% reduction of school district’s purchasing power. Declining enrollment along with legislative cuts led to Sweetwater School District #2 to close Jackson Elementary School next year. Sweetwater School District #1 closed Lincoln Elementary last year. Wyoming’s community colleges and the University of Wyoming are also highly rated but they have been cut 11% and 8% respectively. Education concerns will dominate the Wyoming Legislature in the future. K12 revenue deficits are currently projected at $500M in the next biennial budget. Representative Freeman believes he is uniquely qualified to return to Cheyenne and advocate for Green River, Sweetwater County and Wyoming’s educational interests.
John Freeman has lived in Sweetwater County since 1971, while his family has had a presence in Sweetwater County since the 1880’s. He is a graduate of Rock Springs High School, Western Wyoming College, and the University of Wyoming. He is married to Theresa Collins Freeman and they have three grown sons: Michael, Matthew and Sean.
Representative Freeman is a Democrat.