Nine Laramie councilors serve non-partisan four-year staggered terms with no term limits. There are three wards of three councilors each; only those living within a ward vote for their ward candidate(s). Salary is $120 for attending a meeting or a hearing held on a separate day. No benefits are provided. In 2016, there are two vacancies each in Wards 1 and 2, and one vacancy in Ward 3. Terms are not up for Andrea Summerville (Ward 1), Dave Paulekas (Ward 2), Klaus Hanson and Bryan Shuster (Ward 3); the winners of the 2016 election will join them. No response was received from Ward 1 candidates Charles D. McKinney and William Swett.
What motivates you to run and makes you especially suited for this public office?
Vicki Henry (Ward 1): I was elected four years ago to represent my ward in City Council. My motives remain the same—to ensure Laramie develops in a smart and efficient way, considering needs of humans and wildlife when new projects are slated. My seven years of experience on the Planning Commission prior to my last three years on Council have given me knowledge and skills to help all residents get their voices heard. My concern for public safety, and seeing that there are still large areas within our community with unpaved roadways that lack sidewalks, motivates me to continue working on City Council.
Erik Molvar (Ward 1): As a long-time Laramie resident, I appreciate Laramie’s great quality of life and comparatively low cost of living, and I understand how much the combination of small-town charm and a diverse and thriving cultural community mean to Laramie. Having served on Laramie’s City Council in the past, I believe that the best choices for Laramie are ones that honor the voices and perspectives of all who live here. If elected, I will use my experience at the city, state, and national level to help facilitate smart growth that preserves and supports the unique and welcoming character of our town.
Tim Hale (Ward 2): I believe the needs and welfare of taxpayers take precedence over the desires of the administration. Many politicians confuse collaboration with independent thinking. I believe there is a real distinction between the two concepts; my qualifications as a true independent thinker will benefit the public. As a longtime resident of Laramie, who has attended many Council meetings since 1984, and as a small businessman who understands business needs and have had frequent interactions with City government entities, I understand well how City government impacts the average citizen’s life. Citizens deserve Councilors who represent them; not just the City administration.
Tanna Nagy (Ward 2): I have always wanted to run for City Council. I see it as a way to give back to a community that has given me so much. I think I would bring a new face and ideas to the city council. I’m excited for this challenge! I have been a long time Laramie resident and have worked in this community for over 20 years. My work, along with my experience in various groups and organizations has given me the skills to lead, communicate and educate the public. I am running because I care about Laramie and its future.
Jayne Pearce (Ward 2): I’m committed to public service in any arena and I get excited about the good work that we on council can continue to do for the citizens of Laramie. For instance, in this time of limited financial resources from the state, city council needs to advocate for alternative revenue streams in order to maintain our current level of services. I'm ready for that task and my past experience on council can only be seen as an asset. Continuing to work for more bike-friendly roads and paths, more neighborhood parks, and a pollutant-free Casper Aquifer also motivates me.
Joe Shumway (Ward 2): The City of Laramie has many individuals that volunteer and then work hard to insure that our community is exceptional. I enjoy serving on the Laramie City Council and working with our citizens. I serve on the Board of Directors of Interfaith / Good Samaritan, the Board of Directors at ARK Regional Services, the Board of Directors at Developmental Day Care, the Laramie Youth Council Steering Committee, a Committee Chair of the Laramie Boy Scouts District Committee, a member of the Laramie Finance Committee and also a member of the Laramie Emergency Planning Committee. Together we make Laramie extraordinary.
Pat Gabriel (Ward 3): I feel public service is important to the community and that more people should be involved in local government. Being part of the system is vital to improve the City and all the services it provides. My background as a School Board member and County Commissioner has given me the necessary experience to know how to be an effective City Councilor.
Brent Roth (Ward 3): I am motivated to run for City Council because I feel I can make a positive difference as an elected official. I want to see Laramie reach its full potential and help guide us through a potential economic hardship. I received my degree in Mechanical Engineering from UW and work as a Project Manager for Sampson Construction. As an engineer I have taken an oath and sworn that "When needed, my skill and knowledge shall be given without reservation for the public good."
What principles would guide you in making decisions on growth and development?
Vicki Henry (Ward 1): First and foremost are principles of meeting the physical demands of our human residents for health and safety. Keeping buffers between industrial and residential developments is important to our well-being. Providing opportunities for outdoor recreation is as important as indoor recreation. Providing safe modes of transportation for children and adults to and from school, work and play is an important consideration for new developments. Attracting new businesses and residents should blend with beautification efforts. Infill development and redeveloping blighted areas takes advantage of existing infrastructure without having to extend public services beyond our abilities to maintain.
Erik Molvar (Ward 1): I am a firm believer in smart growth. This means providing abundant parks and open space, encouraging in-fill development, discouraging sprawl at the outskirts of town, and protecting the character of historic neighborhoods. Laramie has a comprehensive plan to guide growth that was adopted before my first term on city council, and new developments should follow this plan. I’ll work to keep Laramie walkable and bike-friendly. Economically, I’d like to see us diversify our economy to create more jobs that pay well, in particular fostering public-private partnerships between university research and business to attract high-tech jobs to Laramie.
Tim Hale (Ward 2): As a constitutionalist, I believe government should be limited in interference with citizen’s lives. City government can help citizens by providing a good infrastructure through reliable utilities and efficient utilization of taxpayer’s money. It is not responsible for an overburden of regulations or for providing entertainment and recreation. It is my understanding that another increase in dump fees is expected. The City must be financially responsible by cutting costs when income drops. Many citizens are also facing decreasing income so the City should not impose new or increased fees or taxes.
Tanna Nagy (Ward 2): I want to see growth in Laramie, however, I think it is important that we consider what type of growth, who it will affect, and how quickly this growth would take place. I care about bringing in business that is right for Laramie, something that will grow and last, but that won’t change Laramie’s character or uniqueness. I will always consider how any new business would affect small businesses in our community. I like the idea of promoting the things Laramie already has to help bring growth and development, like outdoor recreation, tourism, great schools and facilities.
Jayne Pearce (Ward 2): For me, five key questions need to be answered. Does the proposal improve the quality of life in our community? Does it threaten our resources? Does it respect community values? Does the work or product made have value and meaning that can enhance the inner strength of an individual? And lastly, are we richer in more than financial terms?
Joe Shumway (Ward 2): The State of Wyoming has historically experienced what is termed ‘Boom or Bust’ economics. With energy revenue down in the State we are faced with the reality that growth and development is a challenge for many Wyoming businesses. In Laramie we are actually experiencing what I call ‘optimistic prosperity’. Our future is promising because we have the stability of the University of Wyoming, LCCC, and WyoTech. We have also developed both new and existing economic partners throughout our community. The guiding principle that keeps Laramie strong and united is our decision to not participate in economic anxiety and negativity.
Pat Gabriel (Ward 3): I’m a good listener and therefore the question on growth and development would reside in examining all the facts presented to the City Council and then discussing the pros and cons with City officials and other Councilors. City investment would also play an important role in the discussion. Can the City afford to invest in infrastructure and other services that could be demanded or necessary by the development. I wouldn’t want to make the permit process for growth too difficult but those wishing to construct and develop must follow City codes with some modification necessary at times.
Brent Roth (Ward 3): There is no question in my mind that growth and development are instrumental in funding our budget. However, we need to be sure that the business who want to move to Laramie are the businesses that will supplement our revenue as well as supplement our community. There are a lot of family owned businesses in Laramie and we need to insure we do not push out the "little guy". That being said, more well paying jobs would benefit everybody including the homegrown businesses.
Do you favor any changes in the way the city handles mosquito control? Explain.
Vicki Henry (Ward 1): In response to residents’ concerns about the ill effects of pesticides, the City has changed its mosquito control program. Laramie has many beekeepers amongst its residents. The City should be vigilant and remain cognizant of the health of pollinators as our residents continually expand community and individual gardens to provide fresh food. I am in favor of reducing the use of harmful pesticides to control mosquitos. I favor using more natural methods which encourage birds, bats and amphibians to eat the adults and larvae. Residents have shown favor of our new program by agreeing to pay more for mosquito control.
Erik Molvar (Ward 1): The city spends a lot of the citizens’ money on mosquito control, and we owe it to Laramie residents to get it right. The city uses aerial spraying to apply malathion over county lands where irrigation creates breeding habitat for mosquitoes. Malathion is a toxic compound that kills birds, pollinators like bees and butterflies, and amphibians. It also poses a threat to human health. The city has begun to transition to a non-toxic microbe that attacks only mosquito larvae and is highly effective. The city should complete that transition and phase out the worst of the toxins.
Tim Hale (Ward 2): The proposed 50 percent increase for mosquito control fees is based on claims that are unsubstantiated, per the article in The Boomerang of 1/17/2016. The City Council should instead give serious consideration to those who suffer when the City raises fees or imposes new ones. Those who suffer include elderly retirees on fixed incomes, the poor, the unemployed, and those on Social Security disability.
Tanna Nagy (Ward 2): I like the new changes the city made to mosquito control. The changes have more respect for the environment and bees. They started using a more environmentally friendly spray and increased their larvicide applications and initiated aerial larvicide applications. The current program operates at about a 95% efficacy! I think it is important to keep the program effective and equitable for everyone. We all pay a little more for this, but public health is the first priority.
Jayne Pearce (Ward 2): I favor changes that are incremental and the results are thoroughly studied since each change impacts efficacy and costs. In early 2016 the council agreed to switch to a product that is more people friendly and modified some spraying procedures and, as expected, the new product increased the cost. Soon, council should receive a comprehensive assessment of the changes implemented in 2016 and based on the findings combined with citizen input future changes may or may not occur. These considerations will influence my ability to continue to support how the city handles mosquito control.
Joe Shumway (Ward 2): New mosquito sprays (pesticides and larvicides) have recently been added to our spraying arsenal to assure our citizens that the war on mosquitoes will continue. Our focus is to not only maintain public health, by using methods that are effective and safe, but also safeguard honey bees. I favor constantly seeking practices that are deemed both safe and effective, especially around or near the Casper Aquifer. I favor the approach of continually seeking for the latest, safest and most efficient methods to not only reduce the mosquito populations but also will prove nontoxic when used near water recharge areas.
Pat Gabriel (Ward 3): The City just recently changed its method of mosquito control following discussions with a group of citizens raising questions on how it was dealing with the pest. As technology changes it’s a good practice to examine the most effective and environmentally sound way to control mosquitos. Having discussions between the public, City officials and other Councilors will provide an effective and safe program that can be administered for everyone’s well-being.
Brent Roth (Ward 3): I favor a change but without having all the facts and reports at my disposal I cannot make an educated decision on what that change should look like. The one thing I do know is, the means and methods used this last spring were not sufficient and we need to come to a resolution. I believe mosquitos are more than a nuisance and truly a public health concern. Mosquito control needs to be addressed but what cost are we willing to afford.