Albany County has three Commissioners who run on a partisan ballot for staggered terms of four years with no term limits. No office is provided; Commissioners receive $30,000 in compensation for the part-time position, plus health and retirement benefits. One will be elected this year to join Commissioners Tim Chesnut (D) and Heber Richardson (R) whose terms continue.
What motivates you to run and makes you especially suited for this public office?
Mary Byrnes (D): I am running to contribute positive and civil leadership to the management of Albany County. My collaborative leadership style, abilities to manage staff and large budgets and delivering on goals makes me suited for this important office. I will bring together city and county officials for resolution of issues in the best interest of all, namely the Casper Aquifer Protection Zone. I will insure that appointed commissions and board behave with respectful discourse and use the best information available to make the most informed decisions. I will increase the openness and transparency of the commission operations, policy formation and decisions.
Terri Jones (R): I feel strongly about giving back to the community where I have spent my life. I am down to earth, reasonable, and approachable. I will listen to you and make decisions that benefit county residents. I chose to run for County Commissioner after attending Commissioner, Planning and Zoning and Laramie City Council meetings regularly for the past two years. I have an understanding of the issues that the current board is dealing with and believe that I can contribute to those discussions for the benefit of all Albany County residents.
What principles would guide you in making decisions on growth and development?
Mary Byrnes (D): Every decision will be based on principles in the best interest of the citizens today and in the future utilizing data, science, law and citizen input. Decisions will support essential operations of county government, providing for health, safety, transportation, water quality, and open spaces – the values of Albany County. My core ideals are economic access for all to prosper and raise families in a stable and livable county. This includes listening to and working with citizens, businesses, government and agency offices and officials, boards and commissions, and state officials in order to ensure that government makes a supportive positive impact.
Terri Jones (R): I believe that logic must rule, and decisions made with emotions set aside; they must be within the law, procedures, and findings-in-fact when commissioners approve or deny proposed projects. Proposed projects should demonstrate benefits and satisfy a need without causing harm or being out of place with the surrounding development; and they must have adequate funding to complete the task within a reasonable time schedule. My engagement in Albany County has given me the opportunity to hear concerns from a great number of people, and one of my main focuses will be ensuring that everyone’s rights are protected.
How do you balance providing for the needs of county residents inside the city limits as well as those outside the limits of Laramie?
Mary Byrnes (D): As a commissioner I serve all citizens of Albany county – inside and outside the city of Laramie. A strong city provides for a strong county, just as a strong county provides for a strong city. All citizens rely on each other to create a livable county. We must concentrate on operating with the clear understanding that the strengths of Albany County are determined by all of its residents with a constant respect for the differences and needs in lifestyles between city and rural living.
Terri Jones (R): Balance is created by a lack of selfishness or desire to control others, and demonstrated by having a thriving community, that cares for the needs of one another. The relationship between residents inside the city limits and those outside the city limits must remain in balance. In making decisions, we must remember that neither can provide all of the needs for both factions. Laramie provides for many of the basic needs for city and county residents. Conversely, Albany County provides many of the basic needs for county as well as city residents in a symbiotic relationship that must be nurtured.