As State Auditor, Kristi Racines thinks in terms of investments. It’s her job is to help decide how Wyoming will spend money today to make tomorrow more prosperous. As a financial expert, a parent and a former Wyoming student, one thing is clear to her: education is always a smart investment.
Kristi attended public schools all over Wyoming as her family followed the boom-and-bust economy. One of the first lessons she had in finance came in early elementary school in Evanston when her class learned about pricing. Her teacher illustrated that if a product is listed at $4.99, it’s actually $5 and not $4, like it seems. Through lessons like these, and the opportunity to take advanced math classes throughout her education, Kristi was forging her path into a career in finance. And though she didn’t realize it at the time, she was being exposed to different Wyoming economies while her family moved around, which is now a critical component of her job.
“I think about my grandmother, who was so capable, but didn’t always get opportunities. In Wyoming, we have so many opportunities,” Kristi said. “We don’t have a lot of people here, so sometimes you just get pointed at to step up to the job, whether you’re prepared or not. But that’s what we do here. Sometimes, we’re asked to punch above our weight, and we rise to it,” she said.
Similarly, our legislature has stepped up for our students, even during less prosperous times. Kristi says that the state’s dedication to investing in education has paid dividends. “In flush times, they’ve invested, and in lean times, they’ve maintained the investment. They’ve committed to this being mission critical,” she said. That critical mission is preparing the next generation of elected officials and financial experts like Kristi. And if we maintain that commitment, we’re looking at a bright future for all of us.