Joey Correnti IV is running as a republican for House District 13, giving Rep. Cathy Connolly (D-Albany) her first-ever challenger for the seat.

Correnti says while Connolly is technically his competition, he is not necessarily running against her.

“My intent is to give the people of district thirteen a choice,” says Correnti. “Representative Connolly has run unopposed in every race that she’s ever run. It’s either been choose the person on the ballot or choose nobody.”

Correnti is a native of southern California who joined the U.S. Army when he was 17. He spent several years in the reserves before he was activated and sent to Germany following the 9/11 attacks. He served overseas until 2012.

“During that time, my mom had moved to Wyoming, so I’d come visit,” says Correnti. “I fell in love with the landscape and the people and the way the state was run. It was a very simple choice for me to decide Laramie and Wyoming was where I wanted to make my home.”

Correnti recently retired after over 19 years in the military, having broken his back and being unable to continue his service.

“At thirty-six years old, when you’re told you’re all done with what you thought your career was going to be and you still have a spirit of service within you, and that’s all you’ve done your entire adult life, you look for other things to do,” says Correnti. “Politics is not necessarily my cup of tea, but serving the people of the state of Wyoming is something that I enjoyed and was good at, and I look to continue to do that.”

When he says he wants to present voters with a choice between himself and Connolly, Correnti says it’s a choice based on service and accountability.

“I think across the state, and especially here in Laramie because we have the university, it’s mostly a budgetary issue,” says Correnti. “Representative Connolly has voted against a line-item accountability of the spending of the state, or for funds that have come out of the Governor’s discretionary account.”

Correnti says the University of Wyoming is spending the people’s money. He says not only does every dime need to be accounted for, but UW expenditures should be open for debate beyond the UW Board of Trustees so taxpayers can have a say.

“The people need to be able to decide: ‘Is this really the focus we want our state university to have?’” says Correnti.

Correnti is a proponent of diversifying the state’s revenue sources, but he does not believe that expansion is a reason to bring the state’s energy industry to a halt.

“I’m a big believer in ‘you can’t slaughter the cow on Saturday night and then expect fresh milk on Sunday morning,’” says Correnti. “That seems to be the way the federal government has been treating Wyoming, and then you have an academic community in Wyoming that supports that idea because they seem to be against energy production.”

Should he be elected, Correnti says he intends to represent each constituent of House District 13, not just the folks who voted for him.

“I think that’s one of the things we’ve gotten away from in party politics,” says Correnti. “We could start to cut out a lot of divisiveness – especially in Albany County, because we have a very diverse population here – by having representatives that are actually representatives of all the people.”

Correnti and Connolly are the only candidates running for the seat.