Three Albany County Commissioners serve four year terms with no term limits. No office is provided. Two will be elected; each will receive $30,000 in compensation for the part-time position, plus health and retirement benefits. They will join Commissioner Tim Sullivan who has two more years in his term.
Why are you the best candidate for the office?
Tim Chesnut (D): I love Albany County and have lived here most of my life. I am as connected with the community through my heritage, work experience and social status as to have a connection with almost every person in Albany County. My work on the commission has enlightened me to most every issue the county has faced in the last two decades and I look forward to the new challenges that face us in the future.
Pat Gabriel (D): I would never say I’m the best candidate but would say that I have twenty years of experience as an Albany County Commissioner and feel that is important to the voters. I have served on numerous boards in the County as a liaison for the Commissioners and thus I have the knowledge to assist the office in other areas that are required by this elected position.
Jerry M. Kennedy (R): I have served three terms as County Commissioner. I live in Northern Albany County and have all my life. I run a cattle ranch as well as a Big Game Outfitting operation. I am a member of Sybille Volunteer Fire Dept. I worked as a fireguard for BLM for 47 years, member of NRA, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wyoming Outfitters Association, Masonic Lodge, Stock Growers, Farm Bureau. I understand what the needs of the residents are…
Heber Richardson (R): I’m definitely the best candidate for the office because I have common sense. I am a good listener. I work well with all people, including those whose views differ from mine. I run a successful local business. I believe in transparent government. I believe in the rule of law. I ask and find the answers to tough questions. I am familiar with the entire county, including Laramie, and with the issues Albany County citizens face.
Do you support renewing the optional Fifth penny sales tax in Albany County? Explain.
Tim Chesnut (D): YES! Thankfully most of the citizens of Albany County know that we are the poorest county in Wyoming and we do not have the ability to pay for some of the most basic needs of our citizens. The fifth cent makes up 1/5 of the city of Laramie’s budget. We can use it to help out the social service agents in the county and improve infrastructure one cent at a time. Help us help ourselves.
Pat Gabriel (D): The optional Fifth penny sales tax is critical to the funding base of both the County and City. It is used to support various County operations such as Road and Bridge and the Sheriff’s Office. In addition, many community agencies such as Interfaith Good Samaritan, The Eppson Center and Red Cross receive funding from the Fifth-penny sales tax.
Jerry M. Kennedy (R): Yes I support the Fifth-penny sales tax! This tax helps all the people in Albany County. It provides a funding source to a lot of parties that need those funds for the community. The City and County use those funds for a lot of operations that would be severely missed if the tax failed. It provides a fair tax, as the burden is not based on just property owners.
Heber Richardson (R): Absolutely. Without it, I’m not sure how the Sheriff would fuel his vehicles and how we would keep the lights on in the courthouse. Albany County has a somewhat weak tax base. This tax is essential for the city, county, and the Town of Rock River to function in a basic way. As commissioner, I hope to carefully facilitate growth in Albany County to expand and strengthen our tax base.
If you could achieve one change in the policies or procedures of the Albany County Commissioners, what would it be and how would you accomplish it?
Tim Chesnut (D): I would take the County Coroner and Clerk of District Court offices away from being elected officials. One hundred years ago there may have been some reason for these two positions being elected, but that is not the case today. These are two highly professional and specialized non-partisan careers that should have more stability than having to campaign for their jobs every four years. Most would rather vote in the Road and Bridge Superintendent.
Pat Gabriel (D): I would like to see the County Commissioners and City Council agree to meet on a regular basis. I think this would enable both bodies to know what is happening in each governmental organization and would greatly assist both in better communication in order to serve the people of Albany County. I would approach the Mayor and City Manager to see if this could be done perhaps on a monthly basis.
Jerry M. Kennedy (R): One change that I would like to make is to make the regulations on the open meetings law clear to everyone. It is, at this time, not a clear-cut regulation. This comes from the County Attorneys view of the law and it is not a problem in many Counties. It seems there are new twists all the time. This could be fixed by working with the new County Attorney, Judges and Commissioners all working together.
Heber Richardson (R): Regarding procedures, no. The commission is currently a civil place that gives citizens time and respect to speak their concerns. Citizen opinions and concerns are given weight in the decision making process. Regarding policy, yes. While I don’t have a pet issue, I will influence the process with some things I think are important. These include following applicable laws, respect for constituents’ views and personal dignity, private property rights, and sound fiscal policy.