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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — State Rep. Gregg Blikre, R-Gillette, technically has a Libertarian candidate running against him in House District 53.

But his opponent, John Wiltbank, has done little more than get his name on the ballot.

The 29-year-old Gillette resident didn't file a campaign finance report with the state earlier this month, as required by law, and even his own fellow Libertarians can't reach him these days.

“He's incommunicado,” said Wyoming Libertarian Party Chairman Don Wills.

“He's not really running a campaign.”

Wiltbank didn't respond to several phone calls seeking comment.

With Wiltbank AWOL and no Democratic candidate in the race, it would appear Blikre is assured of a second term representing House District 53, which covers much of the city of Gillette.

Blikre, a Gillette banker, said he wants to take up key legislative issues such as school recalibration, highway funding and fighting the federal government.

Voters should choose him, he said, because of his three decades of experience on boards and commissions working for the public good.

One of Blikre's primary goals next year is to help protect core industries in the state from federal intrusion.

The state can help do that, he said, by having the Legislature and the governor talk with federal officials and raise a fight when they start undermining states' rights.

“What we can do is essentially try to work with the feds to try to get them to understand that we as a state have the right to manage our own affairs,” he said.

Blikre said lawmakers are also going to have to “look hard” at figuring out how to pay for repairs to the state's highways.

Blikre favors creating a tolling system along Interstate 80 — and Interstate 90, if needed — to raise the money.

“Those big trucks are doing the damage to those roads, and it seems to me like the entity that's damaging them ought to be paying their fair share to fix them,” he said.

Focusing on early childhood education for Wyoming children will also pay long-term dividends for the state, Blikre said.

Contact Jeremy Pelzer at jeremy.pelzer@trib.com or 307-632-1244.

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