Qualifications: I was born and raised on a ranch in Chugwater, Wyoming. In high school, I bred and raised purebred Gelbvieh and Gelbvieh/Angus Cross cattle. Eventually, I sold them to purchase my first house. I graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and am a member of Phi Alpha Alpha and Phi Sigma Alpha. Prior to being elected as a Commissioner, I completed a four year term as City Councilor for Ward I in Cheyenne. This experience brings a unique perspective to the Commission, understanding the issue from both the City and County perspective. In addition, I am the former program manager for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21 CCLC) Program at the Wyoming Department of Education.
I am running for reelection for County Commissioner because, during the economic downturn in minerals, we need proven leadership that will promote economic development, pursue new revenue streams, and promote efficiency while reducing long-term expenditures. As a Commissioner, I have worked to increase revenues, form partnerships, reduce barriers to growth and development, and improve service delivery. I have the education and experience necessary to bring creative solutions to the table in a constrained environment.
Top three issues:
Economic Diversification – The tendency is to sacrifice investment and focus on saving money and cutting “unnecessary” spending for the impending swings in revenue caused by the mineral industry. Inevitably, these savings allow for the provision of services during economic downswings. The problem with this approach is that it invariably leaves us vulnerable to the next fluctuation. Instead of relying solely on savings to ride the wave, we need to balance our savings and investment, ultimately facilitating a stable, diversified economy. This means expanding existing industries while exploring new opportunities. As a Commissioner, I worked to do exactly that by securing funding for RV hookups and a sanitary dumping at Archer; working with VisitCheyenne to install the Tom Horn Boot that was donated by Simon Contractors at the Historic Courthouse; and supporting Wyoming Business Council Grant Applications to attract and expand business such as Magpul, Microsoft, and Pine Bluffs Malting. Furthermore, we need to continue to support and work with our economic development organizations like LEADS, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Chamber of Commerce to attract and retain businesses.
Declining Revenues – I frequently hear people say don’t raise our taxes. Besides the fact that the Commission cannot raise your taxes, only the citizens can at the polls, Wyoming Statute caps and limits what we are able to ask for. This means that we have to get creative to address declining revenues while simultaneously addressing increasing demands on our infrastructure. Not only do we need to invest but we need to become more effective in how we utilize our resources. Over the past four years, I have worked to do exactly that. I have reduced expenditures by initiating a partnership between the Library and County IT Department which resulted in the establishment of a point-to-point network, saving $24,000 annually and creating additional opportunities for partnership in the future. Furthermore, we need to seek out new revenue opportunities. I’ve worked with the Legislature, industry officials, and other stakeholders to increase revenue for the county and municipalities – representing the Wyoming County Commissioner Association on the Prepaid Cell Phone Parity Tax (aligning an existing tax to changes within industry and technology) and the Lottery. I’ve also worked with Laramie County Fire Districts 1 & 2 to complete the schematic design of a fire station for Archer. This station will enhance services, reduce homeowner insurance rates, expand the LCCC residency program, and improve the marketability of land for sale at Archer. It also reduces the long-term expenditures by resulting in the building of one station as opposed to two which, in turn, reduces the amount of equipment, overhead, and manpower to cover the same amount of territory. Furthermore, we need to promote the sale of land at Archer. The conversion of land from government to commercial will increase the tax base. Not only will the County see increased property taxes but organizations like the Laramie County Fair, Weed and Pest, school district, and Laramie County Fire District #1 will benefit from a higher mill levy.
Impacts – Laramie County is growing and with growth comes impacts including roads, fire and emergency response, law enforcement, sanitation, schools, and water. To offset those impacts, we should encourage and promote infill development. Infill development is particularly desirable because it provides additional revenue without further burdening the system. However, we have to ensure that the lot sizes are sufficient so as to allow the aquifer to recharge. We also need to evaluate our long-term infrastructure needs. Our facilities are at capacity and as growth continues, we will have to expand or build new facilities. In the immediate future, this includes expanding our jail and remodeling the courthouse. Long-term, we will have to decide whether to move some services to Archer or to acquire additional real estate downtown. Finally, we need to explore different products like rubberized asphalt to extend the lifespan of our existing infrastructure.