A strong desire to serve

David Peck

Beck to seek District 26 seat in Wyoming House

Tim Beck of Lovell has toyed with the idea of seeking office for many years. He even chatted with Rep. Jamie Flitner about it.

And then a summertime event gave him the impetus to throw his hat into the ring and run for Flitner’s House District 26 seat.

It was the honor parade through Big Horn County for Lt. Ray Krogman, the Vietnam veteran shot down over Laos in 1967 whose remains were returned home to Worland in July of 2021.

“This summer, when they brought the remains of Lt. Krogman through town, I was really struck by the display of patriotism and honor that our community showed,” he said. “I started questioning myself as to what my service has been, and it occurred to me at that time that the ultimate disrespect that we can show as citizens is to choose to not participate in the best system ever devised by man.

“We might not agree with the decisions that are made, but when we choose to not participate, that just is total disrespect for those that have given their service, their lives, their limbs to give us this country.”

His decision made, but not wanting to split the county by running against Flitner, he spoke to her in December, and she confirmed that she will not seek another term in office (see related story). With that knowledge, Beck announced officially this week that he will seek the Republican nomination for House District 26 (Greybull north to Frannie) in the 2022 primary election.

“My conversation with her in December was that she is not running, and I said I would be inclined to do it then,” Beck said Monday. “It’s something we have talked about for the last five years, but I did not want to run against her. I thought she was doing a good enough job that we don’t need the division in the county, but when
she said she would not, I said I would.

“I believe that we need an agricultural voice representing Big Horn County.”

A Big Horn County native, Beck was born at South Big Horn County Hospital in 1961 and grew up in Basin. He’s a 1980 graduate of Basin High School. He then played college basketball around a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He played basketball for Northwest Community College, served a mission in Alaska for two years and played one more year at NWCC. He attempted to play Division I basketball at BYU but didn’t make the team. Still wanting to play college ball, he left BYU after one semester and finished his college career at Valley City State University in North Dakota, shooting hoops for the Vikings, even playing in the NAIA National Tournament, and earning a bachelor’s degree in education.

Wanting to be a college basketball coach, he earned a master’s degree in education at Wayne State College in Nebraska, then coached at State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology in Cobleskill, New York.

“Upstate New York was a growing experience,” he said. “I found out that I loved playing the game way more than I liked coaching. I think basketball is a beautiful ballet, but I got disgruntled with the personalities. So we moved back here to raise our family and live a life.”

Beck and wife Lorilyn (Brown) Beck had three kids by that time and found a home back in Big Horn County, moving to Lovell in 1992.

After returning to Big Horn County, Beck worked in masonry with AD Wardell and Bob Acton and worked as an independent contractor. He also helped start the family operated Country Bakery just south of Lovell.

Beck eventually moved into agriculture, taking the reins of the family ranching operation some 15 years ago and running the Double Dollar Cattle Company south of Lovell ever since.

Double Dollar runs on some 2,000 deeded acres southwest of Lovell and also on some 64 square miles of public BLM grazing land to the east of the ranch, he said.

“I currently have 140 to 150 mother (black angus) cows, and for the last six years I’ve introduced Boer goats into the operation.
We have currently 200 mother Boer goats with accompanying dogs and horses,” he said.

Beck first dipped his toe into politics many years ago when he was written in for GOP precinct committeeman, serving one term, but he has been active in the county for many years: some 30 years with Big Horn County Search and Rescue, the Big Horn County Weed and Pest board for some 25 years, eight years as chairman and around 25 years with the Big Horn County Farm Bureau board. He’s serving his second term as the county president and is the Northwest
District chairman for the Farm Bureau Federation, serving the Big Horn Basin plus Fremont County.

Wanting to serve

As for why he’s running for office, Beck said his father passed away a year ago April, and when reading his parents’ life history, he learned that his mother’s only brother, Dennis Smith, was the first serviceman from Big Horn Basin killed in the Vietnam War. And then when Lt. Krogman was honored with the long parade of tribute last summer, he knew he had to serve.

Over the years, he said he often played the “if I were in office” game in his head regarding decisions at the local and state level, thinking, “How would I handle these issues?”

“When Lt. Krogman’s remains came through, I really played it in earnest, and (I wondered), is it time?” he said. “Is it time to step up and say that you’re willing to serve? I eventually answered that in the affirmative and set about trying to make it happen. We have a responsibility to serve, and we have a responsibility to participate.”

Beck emphasized that the “responsibility to participate” he embraces can take many forms: Little League Baseball coach, school board trustee or the irrigation district board. He said he has learned to trust decisions made by people serving in various positions, such as the neighbor at the head of the irrigation district.

“I don’t have to be there at every decision,” he said. “I trust that he’s going to make good decisions for my water. Similarly, I hope that people will trust me with the weed and pest board. I trust the members of the school board. I trust our Little League coaches to do what they volunteer to do. But we all need to participate.”

Beck said he would enter office with no preconceived notions.

“I don’t have an axe to grind,” he said. “I saw some things in this year’s legislature that I would like to participate in the discussion on. I think we have some things happening in Wyoming that, at the legislative level, are going to be really interesting, and I would like to be involved in that discussion.”

Native knowledge

Beck said he believes it is important for someone representing citizens in Cheyenne to have been raised among the people represented.

As a native of Basin, growing up in South Big Horn County, working in both ends of the county and now having lived in the Lovell area for 30 years, Beck said he knows the people of the county and speaks their language.

“I know what Big Horn County is, and I think that, as a representative of Big Horn County, you need to know what Big Horn County is,” he said. “I understand that we have people that work in the bentonite mines and at the bentonite plants, we have people that raise crops, make livestock. I know we have some of the most fantastic natural resources in the world, and we are unknown. That’s both good and bad.”

Beck said his basic political philosophy is that he is conservative, but he said he approaches issues with an open mind and the ability to see things from different points of view.

“I live my life conservatively, and because I live my life conservatively, that will naturally be the lenses that I look at the world through,” he said, “but because I’ve had the good fortune of obtaining a liberal arts education and I see the value in asking questions and looking for answers, to me the most dangerous thing is group think. Group think is causing a lot of the polarization and chaos that we have today. We need people that can back off and think clearly. I aspire to be that type of person. I hope I can be that person.

“The most important word I learned from this year listening to the legislative process this year is the term consensus and not compromise. That’s a dangerous word (compromise), but consensus is a productive word that says we’re going to go forward.”

Beck said he’s not hesitant to talk about issues but said in many cases he wants to learn more before establishing a specific position.

“The best advice I received came from (former Senator) Ray Peterson,” he said. “At this point, some would say they want to know exactly where I stand on everything, but the best advice I’ve gotten after I sought out Ray…is that the devil’s in the details. Any piece of legislation that comes forward, the name or the idea might be great, but how it’s fleshed out might not be great, so you really need to be careful about pre-committing to something and see what’s actually in the details and be able to understand that. I think that’s good advice.

“I’ll listen to your opinion, but I owe him the opportunity to listen to his opinion, as well. Especially if you’re going to be in this position, that’s what your job is – to listen to both of ‘em, hear accurately and then say, ‘OK, I voted this way’ and then be able to explain accurately why. You might not agree with it, but can we respect each other’s viewpoint as we’re doing it?”