by nathan oster
With just a couple of days remaining in the filing period, only one candidate, Phil Abromats of Greybull, has entered the race to serve District 26 in the Wyoming House of Representatives.
Elaine Harvey of Lovell, who has held the seat since 2003, is not seeking re-election this year.
A Republican, Abromats said he’s been getting encouragement to run for the seat for the past 10 years. With Harvey on her way out, he jumped in, announcing his intentions at the recent Lincoln Day Dinner in Lovell and then following through by officially filing with the state.
“I see an opportunity here that hasn’t presented itself in a long time,” said Abromats, an attorney who moved to the county in 2006. “She’s been the incumbent, and incumbents are tough to beat. “She has a little different philosophy of government than I do.”
Describing himself as “a Constitutional conservative,” Abromats said, “I really do believe in limited government.
“I talked with a lot of leading citizens and office holders before making this decision. I got a lot of encouragement. Had I not, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
While admitting that he “didn’t necessarily agree with everything that Elaine did in office,” he saluted her for her service to the county for 14 years — especially considering that it’s essentially an unpaid position.
Abromats said he knows that if he’s elected, he’ll have his work cut out for him in Cheyenne. He recounted a conversation he had at the state convention, after he informed one lawmaker that he was surprised that no one else had announced for Harvey’s seat. The lawmaker asked him if he knew why that was. When Abromats said he did not, he was told it was because the state is “going into the biggest bust since the 1980s, that the budget is going to be a mess and that we’re going to need to either cut services, raise taxes or both. So any decision you make, you’re going to get blamed for it.”
Abromats has been an attorney since 1992, when he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Between 1992 and his arrival in Big Horn County in 2006, he worked as a law clerk for circuit and district court judges as well as a litigation associate and associate for firms in Pennsylvania.
While always attracted to life in the west, he chose Greybull after getting to know Tish Abromats through eharmony.com. Tish is the former owner of the Buffalo Rose restaurant in Greybull. Abromats said he fell in love with the area immediately, saying he very much prefers the wide open spaces to high-density cities.
Abromats has been a practicing attorney in Big Horn County since 2006, but did leave for a couple of years (March 2011 to April 2013) to become Deputy Secretary of Public Welfare in the administration of then Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. A political appointment, Abromats resigned when a superior in the department left office and returned to Wyoming.
He emphasized that if he’s elected, he’ll judge his tenure not by how many laws he passed, but rather by how many he repealed, emphasizing, “I truly am in favor of lesser government.”
The filing window for the House District 26 seat closes at 5 p.m. Friday, May 2.
All candidates must file with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Election Division.