Banks to seek re-election to House District 26 seat

Nathan Oster

With the filing period approaching, Republican Dalton Banks of Cowley announced last week that he will seek re-election to the District 26 seat in the Wyoming House of Representatives.

Banks was elected to the seat in 2022, when he emerged from a race with Tim Beck, Gary Welch and Tim Mills to win the Republican nomination and advance to the general, where he ran unopposed.

Looking back on it now, Banks believes he’s a more well-rounded candidate now than he was then. 

“I felt like my first term, I was like a sponge, soaking in so much, getting to understand the process, getting the institutional knowledge cemented in my mind,” he said. “I left the last session feeling like I’d done that. The institutional knowledge is there now.  The knowledge about the legislative process, it’s there now. 

“I think it will make me a better legislator, because I understand how important relationship building is.”

Banks said the approach of being willing to work together helped him land seats on two House committees: Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources; and Minerals, Business & Economic Development.

“By speaking with leadership and opening that communication, I was proud, as a freshman legislator, to get seats on those two very important committees.”

Reflecting on the past two years, Banks said, “I can hold my head high because I kept my integrity intact. People here and there know when I give my word, I follow through on it.”

As for a second term, Banks said good leadership is desperately needed in Cheyenne and in the Republican party, which no longer speaks with a united voice. 

“I am adamant that I have not joined any one of the caucuses,” he said. In the House, there are two dominant ones: the Wyoming Caucus and the Freedom Caucus, he noted.

“I do not belong to either one, and I will not belong to either one,” he said. “In terms of numbers, it’s about half and half right now, which puts me in a unique position to negotiate the best for my Big Horn County constituents.

“On a lot of issues, one side or the other came me and said, ‘You’re the deciding vote’ and, ‘What can we do to get you to go along?’ I believe it gave me and Big Horn County a strong voice in this session, and I would like to see that continue.”

Banks said he was one of only a few legislators who resisted the advances of the two caucuses.

“I’m going to do what’s best for my constituents,” he said. “I pride myself on reaching compromises and finding the middle ground on things.

“There needs to be more of that kind of thinking down there. People need to be more willing to meet halfway instead of saying, ‘My way or the highway.’  ‘My way or the highway’ doesn’t work for Wyoming.”

Banks said one of his goals for a second term would be to continue to provide the perspective of a young, family man into discussions involving education and workforce development, which he views as crucial for future generations.

“I would also like to continue working toward more funding for mental health services, including funding for the 988 hotline. I joined together with a couple of legislators, and we were able to get $10 million put back into the budget to go toward the 988 suicide hotline trust fund. I’d like to continue to work for sustained funding for that.”

Banks said in a second term he would continue to fight for small towns, calling them “the backbone of Wyoming” and saying he was troubled by efforts to reduce direct distributions to local and county governments.

“I want to continue to fight to make sure they get what they need,” he said. 

Serving on the agriculture committee, he’s been on the front lines of the battle over public lands, noting, “Some of us have formed a coalition to push back against the overreach of the federal government ... so that’s another priority of mine.”