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A GUIDE TO THE 2022 PRIMARY ELECTION

Second Amendment


Welcome to your 2022 Primary Election Special, a guide to the candidates vying for your vote. Inside, you will find information about the people running for all city, county, state and national seats at the primary election this August.

This guide is intended as an at-a-glance look at the candidates as you head for the ballot box.

For local seats, we asked each candidate to answer two questions. All candidates were given the same opportunity to contribute their thoughts and limited to the same length of answer in the interests of fairness.

For state and national seats, we have provided a brief bio to jog your memory about each candidate on the ballot or introduce you to them.

FEDERAL

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – REPUBLICAN

Anthony Bouchard

Cheyenne

Currently serving as a state senator for District 6, Bouchard describes himself as an American entrepreneur. A small businessman and founder of Wyoming Gun Owners, he works in the family septic cleaning business. Bouchard says he is running for Congress to “stand up and defend our rights and our republic against angry Socialists and their allies in Big Tech, academia and the Fake News Media”.

Denton Knapp

Gillette

Knapp’s distinguished military career includes three deployments during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit and two Bronze Star medals. He has led programs at the highest levels of the Army, US Special Operations Command, the Pentagon and NATO, retiring honorably as a colonel in 2017. He became the director of the Tierney Center for Veteran Services and continues to serve on numerous advisory boards.

Harriet Hageman

Cheyenne

Raised on a ranch near Fort Laramie, Hageman is a lawyer known for her work in the early 2000s to fight against the roadless forest rule. She highlights career moments including stopping EPA efforts to take control of irrigation infrastructure and operations and blocking the USD from forcing livestock producers to use radio-frequency eartags. She previously ran for governor in 2018. Hageman’s objectives in D.C. include protecting the constitution, deregulating the administrative state and election integrity.

Liz Cheney (incumbent)

Wilson

Cheney has served Wyoming in Congress since 2016, when she ran on a platform of restoring America’s strength and power in the world and pursuing conservative solutions to create jobs, cut taxes and regulation and expand the energy, mining and agriculture industries. Before that, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East, practiced law at White & Case and the International Finance Corporation and was a FOX News analyst.

Robyn M. Belinskey

Sheridan

Calling herself a “grassroots God-fearing conservative Republican”, Belinskey wants to be the voice of common sense and relatability in D.C. She has been a small business owner and paralegal and lists her platforms as pro-Wyoming, pro-America and its Christian values, pro-law enforcement, pro-life, pro-gun and Second Amendment, pursuing nuclear power plants in Wyoming, dealing with domestic terrorists including Black Lives Matter and Antifa, balancing the budgets and closing the borders.

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DEMOCRATIC

Lynnette GreyBull

Fort Washakie

GreyBull grew up in California and has been a tribal liaison since 2013 with government and nonprofit entities, training and advising on AMBER alerts and child sex trafficking in Native American communities. She founded Not Our Native Daughters and currently serves as director of the Wind River/Department of the Interior Land Buyback Program for Tribal Nations. Her platforms include defending reproductive freedom, care for veterans, clean energy and healthcare for all.

Meghan R. Jensen

Rock Springs

Jensen has spent most of her career managing quick service restaurants and as head cook for her school district. She graduated in 2017 from Western Wyoming Community College with an associate of arts degree in political science and for the last six years has joint owned and operated a small concrete company. She calls her platform “F.A.C.E. it, Wyoming”, a formula for change that includes a focus on we, the people; acting on behalf of all families, competing in a changing economy and expecting better.

Steve Helling

Casper

Helling says his goal is to “bring civility, sanity and God back to politics”, stating that he believes radical leftist extremists must not be allowed to destroy the America we love. Highlighting issues including threat of world war, inflation, racial tensions, supply chain issues and a fragile power grid, he says life in America is at risk, but the situation is not hopeless and it’s important we all work together to get the country back on the right path.

STATE

GOVERNOR – REPUBLICAN

Mark Gordon (incumbent)

Buffalo

Gordon started several successful businesses in Buffalo and Sheridan and has worked in the oil and gas industry. As state treasurer, he says he grew state investments by $1.17 billion over the 2016-17 fiscal year. As governor, he lists achievements including cutting taxes, lowering the budget and reducing the size of state government. However, he says, there is more work to do, including improving the education system, recommitting to the goal of energy independence and streamlining regulations on businesses.

Brent Bien

Sheridan

Bien is a civil engineer, Marine Corps aviator, combat veteran and retired Marine Corps colonel. He claims to have helped shape legislative and procedural change in North Carolina, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and shaped change in the Department of Defense and Marine Corps. Issues he supports include constitutional rights, pro life, two genders, preservation of the Second Amendment, state sovereignty, the family unit, limited government and reduced regulations.

James Scott Quick

Douglas

After being honorably discharged from the US Marine Corps, Quick worked in uranium and open pit coal mines before owning and operating his own oilfield service company. The issues he sees as most important include saving Wyoming energy, protecting Wyoming children, revitalizing pride in Wyoming state employees, supporting the Second Amendment, cutting wasteful spending and returning State Parks to pre-2020 status.

Rex Rammell

Rock Springs

A veterinarian from Rock Springs who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Idaho Governor Butch Otter in 2010 and ran for U.S. Representative in the 2016 election and Wyoming governor in 2018, Rammell founded a federal land transfer movement in 2008 that focuses on transferring all public lands back to the states. He describes himself as the voice for state sovereignty over public lands and says he has devoted his life to defending our constitutional rights.

GOVERNOR – DEMOCRATIC

Rex Wilde

Cheyenne

A veteran US Army paratrooper, retired cabinet maker and previous candidate for mayor of Cheyenne who has twice run for governor in the past, Wilde told Cowboy State Daily that he believes defending Wyoming’s water is the main issue that needs tackling at this time and he would also push for marijuana legalization. He describes himself as a staunch supporter of gun rights, but with some caveats, and would like to see toll stops on interstates to charge out-of-state license plates and increases for out-of-state fishing and hunting tags.

Theresa A. Livingston

Worland

A US Air Force veteran who worked for the BLM for 15 years before retiring, Livingston told Wyoming News Now that her experience living all across the world has given her a diverse background in life, school, government and different needs. Livingston wants to focus on economic diversity, including through renewable energy and alternative uses for coal, and a return to the value that makes Wyoming the Equality State, such as Medicare expansion, access to health care and vocational education.

SECRETARY OF STATE – REPUBLICAN

Chuck Gray

Casper

Gray began his professional career as a radio executive and host and has served in the Wyoming House of Representatives since 2017. He describes himself as an advocate for voter integrity, pro-life and saving the Wyoming energy sector, as well as standing up for Christian and conservative values. He is running for this seat, he says, to continue advancing conservative values such as election integrity.

R. Mark Armstrong

Centennial

A geologist and engineer, Armstrong has served with the Centennial Valley Fire Department and as a volunteer with the Albany County Library. Armstrong told WyoFile that the bar for absentee voting is currently too low and invites fraud, so it should only be available for those with a reasonable explanation, such as military service. He also said he would focus on enabling Wyoming to ship coal to Asia to boost the state economy.

Tara Nethercott

Cheyenne

Nethercott is a Wyoming State Senator and practicing attorney with Crowley Fleck. She has promised to be steadfast and vigilant in maintaining Wyoming as an example to the nation for election integrity and resist any federal takeover of the state’s elections. She has also pledged to ensure Wyoming remains business-friendly and, as a member of the State Land Board, to maximize state-owned land now and for future generations.

STATE AUDITOR – REPUBLICAN

Kristi Racines (incumbent)

Cheyenne

Previously the Chief Fiscal Officer and Director of Human Resources for Wyoming’s judicial branch, Racines was a liaison with the legislature on the financial aspects of the court system. As a CPA, she has also performed in-depth audits on the State of Wyoming, UW, the Wyoming Business Council and several community colleges. Before winning the State Auditor seat in 2018, she pledged to bring accountability, experience, efficiency and commitment to the office.

STATE TREASURER – REPUBLICAN

Bill Gallop

Cheyenne

A US Army veteran and investment management professional, Gallop managed $4 billion of portfolio investments in global equities as senior investment officer for Wyoming Retirement System. He taught a finance course at UW and was an investment director at several large private U.S foundations, endowments and public pension systems, as well as working on Wall Street as vice president of a major banking institution. Gallop believes a more flexible and dynamic approach to investing Wyoming’s financial assets is needed and would aim to set “all-weather” investment goals.

Curt Meier (incumbent)

La Grange

A recipient of the Patrick Henry Award from the Wyoming National Guard Association, Meier served in the Wyoming Senate from 1995 until winning the State Treasurer seat in 2018. He describes himself as a constitutional conservative with proven experience guarding the people’s tax dollars. In a press release announcing he would seek re-election, Meier said his desire is to continue providing effective leadership, solid returns and excellent service in managing the people’s investments.

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION – REPUBLICAN

Brian Schroeder (incumbent)

Cheyenne

Schroeder was appointed to the position earlier this year. A former classroom teacher and school principal, he believes there is something in the character of Wyoming people that sets the stage for “a model of education that could become the envy of our entire country”. Schroeder is a strong proponent for literacy and believes in local control, elevating and preparing teachers, parents being the owners of our schools, curriculum transparency, removing gender ideology from schools and school choice.

Jennifer Zerba

Casper

Zerba has been a cosmetologist for over 30 years, has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration from UW and has received the Distinguished Toastmaster award from Toastmasters International. Her platform includes a commitment to responsible financial spending, a commitment to educators, a commitment to the Wyoming Constitution and a commitment to a skilled workforce.

Megan Degenfelder

Laramie

Degenfelder holds degrees in business economics and political science from UW and a master’s degree in economics from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. She served as chief policy officer under Superintendent Jillian Balow, overseeing multiple divisions. She has pledged to empower parents, work with local industry to prepare graduates for the workforce, fight back against anti-American curriculum and policies, prioritize literacy for K-3 and advocate for classroom funding.

Robert J. White III

Rock Springs

White is a U.S. Marine veteran and trona miner who told WyoFile that he decided to run after finding himself disturbed by news reports of issues between school boards and parents and discussions around curriculum. He would seek to improve communication between schools and parents, address school shootings and audit schools’ crisis management systems, as well as lower classroom sizes and pay teachers more.

Thomas Kelly

Sheridan

Kelly holds a PhD in political science and a master’s degree in education. A former social studies and special education teacher, he has also serve as chair for the Department of Political and Military Science at American Military University. The issues he highlights as most important for Wyoming education include parental rights to provide input on curriculum, standards and policies; educational choice; and fiscal responsibility.

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION – DEMOCRATIC

Sergio A. Maldonado, Sr.

Lander

Maldonado holds a master’s degree from Arizona State University and is a doctoral candidate at UW and has been a teacher, college administrator and school board trustee. He was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education by President George H.W. Bush. He has pledged that education under his leadership would not be politicized to the detriment of students and to collaborate with teachers, administration and the community to provide every student a quality education.

STATE LEGISLATORS

SENATOR – REPUBLICAN

Bill Fortner

Place of Residence: Gillette

Occupation: Oilfield maintenance, legislator

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“Truthful, honest and transparent representation with a 100% conservative voting record and two years of experience in the Wyoming House of Representatives.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I will pursue doing away with federal money that has strings attached, as well as bills I ran the last two years, along with pushing for senior citizens being tax exempt at age 65. HB0146 Personal Property Tax Depreciation, HB0147 Education Expense Tax Credit (School Choice), HB0026 Dual Public Employment and Office Holding, HB0027 Visitation Rights, as well as others that need done by the citizens in Senate District 1.”

Ogden Driskill

Place of Residence: Devils Tower

Occupation: Incumbent, lifetime rancher, small business owner

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I am very experienced. I have a proven track record of passing bills and accomplishing things. I am a budget hawk – the state budget is down close to $1 billion since I was first elected. In the same time, we have almost doubled state savings. I understand local issues and am able to act on them, from water to protecting our local utilities, towns and counties. My being elected by my peers shows that they respect my leadership. If elected, I have a very strong chance of being president of the Senate. This brings huge opportunities to northeast Wyoming. I also have a proven track record of working with our industries as evidenced by my endorsements from Wyoming Mining Association, Wyoming Stockgrowers, Wyoming Hospital Association, Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant, National Rifle Association (A+), Wyoming Contractors Association. They understand I get budgets, jobs and regulations. I am an effective legislator with proven conservative values and actions. I know how to do things and have the respect of my peers.” 

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“Property tax relief – I was on a bill to cap increases to 5% last year. It failed. I will continue to work to cap or change our [property tax structure. I will continue to work for education choice – I passed charter schools a few years back, many parents and students will have a choice for the first time in 100+ years. I will continue to work on delivering a high-quality education at a reasonable cost. I will continue to work on education funding and quality. I want more dollars into the classroom for teachers and students. Other costs should take a back seat. I am and will continue to be a leader on National Forest issues – I was the primary driver of the pine beetle program that kept our forest green and am a driver of the state taking a leading role in the rewrite of the Black Hills National Forest Plan. As in the past, I will continue to work on runoff elections and crossover voting and further work on voter ID laws – I was the cosponsor and managed the bill on the Senate side, I will continue to write bills and work to create an environment that brings new business to Wyoming. I have sponsored or cosponsored bills that have created many hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to the state, at no cost to the state other than paper.”

Roger Connett

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Retired from the mining industry, consultant

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“The strengths I bring to this office start with my firm commitment to represent the values of the people of northeastern Wyoming. Also, I have over 40 years of experience in the mining industry, in both domestic and international business management. Upon my retirement from mining, I worked as an equipment salesman for a local agriculture equipment dealer, where I gained a better understanding of the challenges facing ranchers in today’s economic conditions. I have managed all aspects of multi-million-dollar businesses and projects, including budgets, contracts and workforce, resulting in improved efficiency, productivity, cost effectiveness and eliminating wasteful spending.

“These management principles need to be applied to all branches of our state government rather than the standard answer of raising taxes to solve the problems. Leadership is not a title or a right, leaders can be found at all levels. It is earned by proving to the people that you care enough to listen and do the right thing, even when it is difficult.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I feel the most important issues facing the state are property taxes, removing our dependency on federal money with strings attached, the school funding model, school choice and medical freedom.

“We must change the model we use for assessing property taxes. Current assessments are based on fair market value, which is driven by unprecedented high prices. A more reasonable approach would be a model based on our acquisition cost (with reasonable escalators). We are currently being taxed on unrealized income and the only way to realize it, is to sell our homes. This affects all the citizens of Wyoming, time to fix the model.

“The state has become too dependent on federal money. With it comes strings and administrative costs, which includes more employees to administer programs and funds. Controlling our spending problem will help to eliminate our dependency on federal money.

“We also need to address our school funding model, currently almost 70% of the taxes collected fund our schools. We spend over $18,000 per student, more than double what the states around us spend and our test scores are no better. Teachers and student spending is not the problem, we spend entirely too much on administrative costs. This can has been kicked down the road for far too long, it is time to finally address this problem.

“We need allow parents to choose public, private, charter or homeschooling for their children. This creates competition in education and I believe that will also improve the quality of education. I also believe in ‘backpack funding’, which means the money follows the student.

“In addition, I strongly believe in medical freedom, NO MANDATES.

“It would be my honor to serve the people of Senate District 1 as your next Senator.”

REPRESENTATIVE – REPUBLICAN

Chip Neiman

Place of Residence: Hulett

Occupation: Incumbent, rancher

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“First of all, I want to say what an honor it has been to serve you as your District 1 Representative. This has been an incredible blessing to me to be able to take your values to Cheyenne and I am asking for the opportunity to serve two more years. My priority has been to support conservative ideals of spending control, election integrity, parental choice in education and standing up for our constitutional rights. Life, liberty and being able to pursue happiness will be my priorities going forward.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“Key issues I see going forward: property taxes, education choice, more efficient spending and election reform in the form of run-off elections, just to name a few. I ask you all to please contact me with your questions and suggestions. A well-informed electorate is an empowered body able to make good decisions. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you. I look forward to working with you.”

COUNTY

COUNTY COMMISSIONER – REPUBLICAN

Fred Devish

Place of Residence: Moorcroft

Occupation: Incumbent, retired

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“My ability to look at both sides of an issue and have a conversation about what might be the resolution. You have to look at the issue as a real problem for that person – if they’re bothered enough to come talk to us about it, then it’s real to them. Open-mindedness, tempered with common sense.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“Right now, we are engaged with the feds in the National Forest to revise their plan as to what goes on in it – how much timber can be harvested, how much grazing can occur, what kind of recreation and what kind of use is allowed on Forest land. I think we need to be at the front of that as much as we can. I do believe harvesting timber, grazing and recreating in the Forest solve a lot of problems as far as wildfire.

“The influx of new arrivals to the county is going to have an effect on what happens in the county, and trying to help them adjust to our way of life. I’m not trying to shut people down from doing whatever they want to do, but I do think that developers need to have some skin in the game so that I, as a taxpayer, don’t have to pay for roads and any other items. If the increase in people dictates that the county road is going to have to be reworked, then maybe they need to have a little more into the deal.

“Caring for our seniors – I am one. It’s a tough one, but I’m really happy that there are housing options in Sundance and Hulett.

“I also thoroughly enjoy the youth rodeo for the kids and adults, I think they’ve really built that out and hopefully we can keep going with multiple use of the fairgrounds, not just for the fair but it’s a nice place and you could certainly have a lot of events down there that bring people and money in.”

Bob Latham

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Substitute teacher/coach

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I have spent 20 plus years in the oil, gas and mining industry, I was a branch manager in Gillette. I am on the Sundance Fire Dept where I was assistant chief for 5 years, I have been on Crook County fire for seven years and also the president of the County Fire Advisory Board. I served seven years on the Northern Wyoming Mental Health Board, where I was the vice president two years and the president two years. I understand budgets and I also am not afraid to make a decision based on the facts and stand behind my decisions. I am very approachable and willing to sit down and listen to your thoughts and ideas. I will tell you the truth and not just pacify you.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I am committed to making sure we spend the taxpayer’s money efficiently. I believe there needs to be more transparency between the County Commissioners and the public. I really want to take a hard look at the FREE money out here because of the strings that are attached that we do not want in our county. “I 100% back the youth in our county with our fair and youth activities. I would like to see more partnerships between the county and the cities for the betterment of the WHOLE county.   

“I will work with the Assessor’s Office and the state to figure out ways to lower our property taxes and to stop them from going up substantially every year. I intend to work very hard on the budget and make sure we spend the money where it needs to be spent and not just throw money at the problems.”

Jeanne Whalen

Place of Residence: Aladdin

Occupation: Incumbent, ranch wife, substitute mail carrier

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I spend a lot of time at my job as commissioner. Finally having decent internet at my home makes the job easier. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, traveling to meetings was curtailed, so now I attend virtual meetings often and like that much better. I am in the courthouse weekly.

“Since I have been a commissioner a while, I have made many contacts that have been beneficial for moving this county forward. I served on the BH National Forest Advisory Board and that experience has been helpful as Crook County plays a major part in the Forest Plan Revision process.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“Partnering with the State of Wyoming, Weston County and South Dakota will take all our efforts to keep the Forest ‘multiple use’, the way we want it to be. That and participating in the Regional BLM Plan Revision will be my main focus for the next few years.

“A fun thing I recently joined is the Northeastern Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Collaborative Board. Crook, Campbell and Weston counties make up this group to find projects using the Governor’s Outdoor Recreation funding grants to draw more visitors to our area. One focus is the area around Keyhole State Park on the Pine Haven side. We are just getting started but it is exciting seeing where this may go.

“My other goal is to get high speed internet everywhere in our county. It’s a challenge due to our small population, yet we have good local internet companies willing to work in our county to accomplish this using state and federal money. There are in-county projects waiting to start if the state would release the millions of dollars they have for this and let these companies get to work. The feds doled that money out to be spent, not hoarded.

“You hired me before to be ‘a pain in someone’s neck’ to get good things for our county. I intend to keep Crook County’s name in the forefront of pushing to have the same opportunities the more populated counties have. I would appreciate your vote to allow me keep on working for you.”

COUNTY CORONER – REPUBLICAN

Mike Frolander

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Incumbent, business owner

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I have been a resident of Sundance, WY for 54 years. I own Robert’s Machine & Repair LLC. A machine shop which employs 5 crook county residents. I have been a deputy coroner/coroner for almost 33 years. I have investigated several hundred cases over my career. I am fiscally responsible.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“The victim’s families are my number one concern along with upholding the law. I believe family privacy is a big issue. Keeping qualified deputies is difficult. This is not a job that can be easily filled.”

Everett Zimmerschied

Place of Residence: Carlile

Occupation: Rancher

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“My strength that I feel would be beneficial in this job is my ability to communicate with people. I feel my knowledge in law enforcement would also be helpful with this job as well. I have had some training in this job in the past as well, so I’m not completely brand new at it.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“As in any job, there are things that can be fixed or improved on, but for this job I’d like to keep politics out of it and focus on the families of our county. I know I don’t have the years of experience that my opponent does, but I do learn quick. I have been in this position as a deputy in the past. What I learned then was helpful and I can build off that experience moving forward, given the chance. I work well with people. I believe with my law enforcement background and ability to work with the public that I am a good candidate for this position. If anyone has questions or would like to hear more, please reach out to me.” 

COUNTY ATTORNEY – DEMOCRATIC

Joe Baron

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Incumbent

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“35½ years of legal experience representing Crook County as a Deputy County Attorney since 1986 and the elected County Attorney since 1991.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“The local county government is in a state of transition. There will be at least four newly elected county officials. One of the most important issues will be in assisting them in their new roles as elected county officials to serve the people of Crook County. Another issue will be to provide a smooth transition of this office to a successor.”

COUNTY SHERIFF – REPUBLICAN

Jeff Hodge

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Incumbent

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“26 years of law enforcement experience, including detention officer, jail administrator, investigations, K-9 handler and patrol captain with 7.5 years of those serving as your Crook County Sheriff. I was elected the President of the Wyoming Sheriff’s Association and served in the position for one year and have recently been elected to a one-year term as the president of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police. I have been personally involved in introducing good Second Amendment legislation and protecting our citizens from overreach of the federal government along with supporting our constitution and standing against unconstitutional mandates imposed upon us.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“The sheriff’s office has built a strong partnership between itself and the Crook County community. We have strived to provide professionalism and yet still enforce the law equally and fairly. Although the national media outlets have demonized law enforcement and praised criminals, I am still under the belief we are a nation built on laws and will continue to provide common sense law enforcement. The citizens of Crook County have always been supportive of the sheriff’s office. A strong community is built on strong relationships, I will continue to build upon those relationships as your sheriff.

“There are important issues facing Crook County and law enforcement, we will certainly be focusing on a few of those. The mental health issues facing not only Crook County, but the rest of the state, certainly need addressed. Facilities to properly treat and deal with the mentally ill and suicidal subjects are a must, jail is not the proper place to house mentally ill and suicidal individuals. There have been steps lately to help in this area but more needs to be accomplished.

“Fentanyl and opioid incidents and overdoses are on the rise in Crook County and the rest of the state. Last school year, I initiated a program to educate and train both students and staff in the dangers and recognizing symptoms as well as being prepared for an emergency involving these types of drugs. We will continue to work with the schools and citizens and be proactive in preventing these types of drugs in our communities. I have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs of any sort.

“Active shooter responses to schools have and will continue to be a high priority. I instituted the A.L.IC.E. program several years ago and will continue to educate and train within the schools and community. The sheriff’s office routinely trains for active shooter responses. We will not be waiting for any type of backup and will be immediately entering a school or business with the goal of neutralizing any type of active shooter or threat. The incident that occurred in Uvalde, Texas infuriates me and I am committed that we will respond accordingly to any threat within our county and communities.

“We are blessed to live and work in Crook County. I will continue to uphold our values and fight to keep Crook County as we all know and love. I want to continue to work for you to maintain a safe and great community where we can all enjoy living and raising our families.”

COUNTY CLERK – REPUBLICAN

Melissa Jones

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Incumbent

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I grew up on my family’s ranch east of Keyhole with my parents and two brothers, graduated from Moorcroft High School and attended Chadron State College. Being the oldest and only girl in the family, I was a natural leader, always bossing my brothers around. My favorite hobby is spending time with family/close friends.

“I began working for the Crook County Clerk’s office in April of 2004. I have had the benefit of starting at the bottom and working my way up, thus have had the opportunity to learn all facets of the office. I have learned irreplaceable knowledge from the clerks before me. Under Clerk Tschetter, I worked on land recordings, titles, marriage licenses, accounts payable, road files and elections. I then worked under Clerk Fritz as her deputy, working on additional things such as payroll, fixed assets, budget, Board of Equalization, liquor licenses, acceptance agreements, grants, Commissioner paperwork and the list goes on. In May, Clerk Fritz retired and I was appointed Clerk in June, so am currently acting in that capacity.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I am aware that one main issue surrounding my position across the nation is elections. I can assure you, that I, along with the clerks across the State of Wyoming, am very passionate about elections and have worked very hard to ensure election integrity and uniformity. I intend to continue to run the Clerk’s Office with the integrity and knowledge deserved by the voters of Crook County in accordance with policies and statutes set forth by the State of Wyoming.”

COUNTY TREASURER – REPUBLICAN

Tammy Jundt

Place of Residence: Pine Haven

Occupation: Incumbent

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I am trustworthy, reliable and dedicated. I have office management experience and a strong accounting background. I deeply feel accountability and transparency are critical in any public office and particularly in that of the Treasurer. I also believe in teamwork and integrity and will incorporate these into our daily office procedures.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“My mission is to provide efficient, courteous and professional service to the residents of Crook County, while fulfilling the duties of my oath. I will maintain a true account of all county receipts, disbursements and invest funds in accordance with the County Investment Policy.”

COUNTY ASSESSOR – REPUBLICAN

Dan Thomas

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Field appraiser

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I am currently a temporarily certified tax appraiser for the State of Wyoming and will be permanently certified this year.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I intend to fairly and accurately value and assess all taxable property. I also would like to focus on answering as many questions about our process that the taxpayers in Crook County may have as possible.”

CLERK OF DISTRICT COURT – REPUBLICAN

Julie Altaffer

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Deputy Clerk of District Court, Crook County

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“With being the current Deputy Clerk of District Court, I have the working knowledge of the computer programs, processes and procedures to make a smooth transition into the Clerk of District Court position. Prior to working in District Court, I have 11 years of experience in Circuit Court, one year in the County Attorney’s office just out of high school and I have certification as a legal secretary.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I intend to continue to provide the prompt, courteous and efficient service that the public has become accustomed to receiving while conducting business with District Court. In November, we are receiving a new computer program, Full Court, that will replace the WyUser program we currently have. In the summer of 2023, it is tentatively set that we will be able to begin receiving electronic filings of certain documents in court cases.”

CITY

City of Sundance

MAYOR

Paul Brooks

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Incumbent, central office technician

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I have experience, and that’s why I continue to be here. I think there are too many opportunities to get public money right now to change courses.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I want to get as much of the remaining COVID-19 money and American Rescue Plan Act money as possible for Sundance.

“Also revamping our infrastructure – we have a huge water line leak at the creek and we’re trying to replace the street crossing on 3rd Street, those are the two biggest projects. There are also numerous taps that come out of Cleveland Street that are old and decaying and need to be changed out.

“I would also really like to see the decorative lighting in town go out onto Hwy 585 to provide not only lighting, but safety for when we have football games, and I am continuing to work on bringing natural gas to Sundance.”

Joe Wilson

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: council member, small business owner

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“Being a business owner, I understand the plight of other businesses in Sundance. I have experience from serving on the council for six years and at least understand the mechanics of how the system works now.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“Continuing to look for a solution for the garbage issues and working with businesses to bring other business to town, while supporting the businesses that are already here. There’s a lot to that, and it’s also one of those deals where I have enough experience to realize how limited local government is to really do the things for businesses that you’d love to. However, the main goal is to keep the businesses in Sundance as healthy as possible and help attract new ones, along with trying to keep our rates reasonable enough for everybody. I grew up here, and Sundance has been good to me. I want to make sure that it’s good for everyone else, too.”

COUNCIL

Richard Benavidez

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Retired conductor, BNSF Railroad

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I was the secretary/treasurer of the local union in Gillette for 18 years and understand payroll, funds incoming, funds outgoing and taxes. I feel I can assist with the budget.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I feel the most important things are more transparency and try to get Sundance self-sufficient so we don’t have to rely on government funds. I feel there are things that the public need to be aware of as we work for them.”

Callie Hilty

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Incumbent, land surveyor

Hilty has served as a member of the council since 2019, when she was selected to fill an open seat. She is an employee of Bearlodge Engineering and Surveying, through which she has proven herself knowledgeable about the infrastructure and make-up of the city. During her time as councilwoman, she has offered consistent insight into issues that come before the Land Use Planning committee and has regularly sought to educate herself on the questions put before the council at each meeting before offering her decisions.

Brad Marchant

Place of Residence: Sundance

Occupation: Incumbent, Area Maintenance Supervisor, WYDOT

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I feel that I understand the issues that face a smaller municipality and can look for an efficient way to maximize our dollars while still being effective in our services. The cost for everything is going up but you have to think out of the box to be effective without spending more. I am adept at cutting costs where I can and I work with stakeholders to find a win-win scenario.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I feel that we need to find a way to bring industry and jobs into Sundance. There needs to be controlled growth, which will affect housing, jobs, and our population. Sundance needs opportunities that will keep our younger people here and will give them an opportunity to put down roots and raise a family. Too many of our kids have to move away because we do not have jobs or housing that they need.”

Town of Moorcroft

MAYOR

Benjamin P. Glenn

Place of Residence: Moorcroft

Occupation: Incumbent, small business owner

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“The being able to see issues from both sides; the problems the town faces, but also the needs that are being met. I feel like I work well with about anyone to accomplish projects that better the town.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“My main goals are to see the splash pad at Noonan Park and the cemetery expansion. I want something positive for our children to do in town and the splash pad is a great first step in getting more recreation activities for our town. I love that the younger generation is stepping in and joining the chamber to help bring more greatness to our community.

“I would like to see the cemetery expansion happen because I like the idea of a cemetery being located all in one place.

“I want to thank everyone for their continued support.”

COUNCIL – 2 YEAR UNEXPIRED TERM

John Aloisio

Place of Residence: Moorcroft

Occupation: Retired teacher, principal, administrator and national park ranger

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I may not know all the answers, but I do know how to ask the right questions and to make decisions based on solid discussion and sustainable conclusions.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“Our county has grown by nearly 7% in the past 10 years, while Moorcroft has declined by 14%. Reversing this trend should be a top priority for our town council.

“The MTC has proven to be a great boon to our community. The southern section is regularly used by a wide variety of the community, while the north section remains largely unused. As costs to maintain the building keep going up, we need to make the decision on what to do; I favor upkeep and renovation of the south section and demolition of the north section.

“Yearly budgets run from July 1 to June 30. With inflation taking up an ever-increasing part of our operating costs, long range planning for our next budget should begin immediately with a complete review of where and how we spend your money.

“Some years ago, Councilman Owen Mathews frequently wrote in the Moorcroft Leader, explaining the needs of the community and the council’s thinking on those needs. We need to return to that type of open communication. Workshops held for the convenience of the council members, but at times rarely good for the residents do little to help us understand the ‘why’ behind many actions.

“I believe strongly that we can provide more and better services that enhance the quality of life for us all, but to do so we must be willing to expand our view from what is to what might be. Thank you for your consideration and I ask for your vote in both the primary and general election.”

Dale Petersen

Place of Residence: Moorcroft

Occupation: Incumbent, elementary school principal

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I bring the ability to be a team player, who has no personal agenda and works to better our community.  I am also a good steward of the public funds with the goal of getting the most services possible for every dollar that is spent. I think I am good at addressing the tough issues and sharing ideas to find solutions to the often difficult and complex issues that we are called upon to address.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“It has been my goal to do what is right and to keep our community moving forward. I am running for a two-year term because there are still several things that I would like to see through, which I feel can be done within a two-year term. On top of the list are the landfill closure, what to do with the MTC and getting the splash pad built. I will work side by side with the other council members as we address those items.

“I appreciate the support that I have received in the past elections. I also want to thank the current council/mayor for their dedication to the citizens of Moorcroft.”

Paul S. Smoot

Place of Residence: Moorcroft

Occupation: Incumbent, manager at Walmart, small business owner

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“The strength I believe I bring to the table on city council is more of a hands-on business perspective of getting things done. I hate government bureaucracies, over-taxation, over-spending and debt so decisions I try to make on city council are based on every service, infrastructure improvement or project – like the Splash Park at Florence Noonan Park paying for itself.

“Some of my decisions are not popular – like advocating the move of the department heads to salary or voting to shut down our landfill, but if we can’t financially sustain our expenditures, then I’m not doing my job – popular or not.

“Clearly, the residents and ranchers of Crook County were not on board with owning and operating our own regional landfill (I learned a hard lesson on that one) so, going forward, my thinking will only be focused on our town of Moorcroft. This is my home.” 

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“If re-elected, I intend on continuing to push decreased departmental spending AND improving the quality of life to the residents of Moorcroft.

“We have parks, ball fields, walking paths and our cemetery that need to be improved. We have some hard decisions we have to make on the Moorcroft Town Center – it’s not paying for itself. 

“We need to raise the bar on expectations of cleanliness of Moorcroft. Clean streets, clean city vehicles and equipment, mowed yards and no junk vehicles.

“We need to figure out how to convince the residents of Moorcroft to all get involved in raising the quality of life here. We all have to care. It can’t be dictated from Town Hall.”

COUNCIL – 4 YEAR TERM

Dustin Petz

Place of Residence: Moorcroft

Occupation: Incumbent, counselor and coach at MHS

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I believe I have brought the ability to listen to my fellow council and those coming to meetings, to hear and validate their concerns. Coming into this position late, I’ve had to put in the time to get caught up and to ask questions. There is a lot to learn and understand and putting the time is necessary.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“The landfill has been a significant topic that we have been working on and continue to evaluate. We want to do what’s in the best interest of our community.

“The Moorcroft Town Center is also important to me. We have a facility that is used by our community members and I feel it’s important to have different options available. We have a number of different uses for it.

“Lastly, the bike path around the community is a benefit I support; the opportunity to keep kids and community members safe while out riding bikes, walking etc. is definitely a positive.”

Austin Smith

Place of Residence: Moorcroft

Occupation: Incumbent

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I am a lifelong resident of Moorcroft Wyoming. I believe that our growing economy and town can benefit greatly by adding a young member to the city council. I feel I bring a good insight to the group having a better connection with the younger group in our community.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I feel that my most important issue with the town of Moorcroft is to try and make our town a better place to raise our children; to add things around our community to keep our kids busy and occupied.

The town of Moorcroft is heading towards an upward trend in population and growth and we need to keep our community on course with upgrading and up keeping our town.”

Robert E. Stewart

Place of Residence: Moorcroft

Occupation: Miner

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I’m honest, I’m not a politician and I don’t sugar coat anything; I just say the way a person feels.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“One of the most important things that I’m going to focus on in town is snow removal because we have a lot of senior citizens and that’s hard on them.

“I honestly feel like Moorcroft is spending way too much money on immaterial things that aren’t as important as they think. There are some changes that need to be done.

“I like this town and I’m planning on living here for the foreseeable future so that’s the reason I’m running; I believe in the town and I believe in the people in this town.”

Town of Pine Haven

MAYOR

Karla Brandenburg

Place of Residence: Pine Haven

Occupation: Incumbent, retired CEO/business owner

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I bring fiscal responsibility to the office of mayor. With my business experience I understand budgets. As Finance committee chair in 2020, I suggested we cut our budget by 30% to get ahead of the financial restraints from COVID-19 and we have continued that pathway to keep our town financially stable.

“We cannot stop future growth, but we can manage it in a responsible way, with the strong leadership and the right regulations and ordinances. Since I have been mayor, I have made a concerted effort to make sure everyone is following our codes for developing and building.

“We have to keep our budget under control so we will be ready for the future. We are working with our Engineer and the State to apply for and use any grant funds available to help us with our projects.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“My goals if elected include a maintenance plan: chip sealing 1-2 miles of roads every year to cut down on the dust and maintain what we have; a culvert cleaning program to help with drainage issues; flushing and flow testing our fire hydrants to help keep water clear and hydrants ready in case of fire.

“GIS: we have contracted to put all town infrastructure on GIS system which will pinpoint exact location of all infrastructure and we can put our maintenance plans on that system to keep track of them.

“First response: new Fire Hall and emergency shelter for residents. Put up uniform address signs on all residential lots to make it easier for first responders to find your house in case of an emergency.

“Growth: work on a commercial business area that will bring businesses and jobs to the town and work with the State Park to get facilities on our side of the lake.

“My family built our home here in 1983 before Pine Haven was incorporated as a town and barely 100 people lived here. I have seen a lot of growth and this would not be the town we all love if it were not for the new and old residents. We need to stay welcoming and keep improving our town to keep up with the times. I am very committed to the town of Pine Haven. I have no personal agenda or commitment to any group or individual.

“I would appreciate your vote on Aug 16.”

Fred T. Nelson

Place of Residence: Pine Haven

Occupation: Business owner, manager

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I have worked with the public all my life as a business owner and manager of companies and I served on the Board of Adjustments in Sheridan, Wyoming. I know how to deal with problems as they arise.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“There are lots of issues in our community of Pine Haven. I would strive to listen to and take advice of the city council and all of the members of the different communities. They play a very important role for our town. Also, I will work to improve our streets and infrastructure of a growing town. We need ordinances that can be enforced and equal to everyone.”

COUNCIL – 4 YEAR TERM

Rob Norton

Place of Residence: Pine Haven

Occupation: Financier, real estate investor

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“This is my first endeavor into public office and I am excited to work with the council and the community. I’m sure my background in finance and real estate will help and I am always eager to learn more.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“Pine Haven is a great little community and we would like to keep it that way. Growth is coming and I want to work on all the things that come with that growth. I believe all the town’s issues are equally important.”

Kristy Speed

Place of Residence: Pine Haven

Occupation: Incumbent, bartender

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I’ve been on the council for three and a half years and have enjoyed working with the mayor and council. I am the liaison for the recreation board and have had a great time working with kids and families.

“I love working with the public and will continue to bring this communication to the residents of our town and build relationships to better serve our community.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“My goal is to keep building a better place for our kids in Pine Haven.”

COUNCIL – 2 YEAR UNEXPIRED TERM

Suzette Edwards

Place of Residence: Pine Haven

Occupation: Retired

What strengths would you bring to this office?

“I believe I am able to look at things from a new perspective. I’ve been a consultant with many different companies and done non-profit accounting so I am able to see problems and find solutions.”

What is/are the most important issue(s) you intend to focus on if you are elected?

“I hope to see Pine Haven remain a small tight-knit community like it is. Although growth is normal, I would like to see more residents get involved in the different boards so that the changes that happen in Pine Haven are changes desired by the residents.” 



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