Qualifications: I was raised in Casper and have been living in Cheyenne for 22 years. I started my own small business, a government affairs firm, 17 years ago. I’ve made a successful career in a competitive environment where the greatest measures of success are your reputation and your word. My children are now grown, and I am at a time in my life where I have the experience, the energy, and innovative ideas to lead Cheyenne.
In my business, I work to find solutions for my clients which means I work with state legislators, mayors, county commissioners and other elected officials on a constant basis. I bring people together - in oftentimes difficult situations - to solve problems. And a problem-solver is what we need now.
My reputation in employee management is that I am fair, firm, and provide clear expectations of outcomes. I manage and solve complex business issues with large fiscal impacts. I have a thorough knowledge of government budgets, the budgeting process and am ready to address how the state’s economic downturn will impact our community. It’s not a time to panic, but it is a time for fiscal sanity.
My definition of the role of government is different than my opponents. Good government to me means putting needs before wants and creating a business-friendly climate. I listen, I build consensus and I’m not afraid to make tough decisions. If elected mayor, I will work with our community, our city council, and our commissioners to take Cheyenne forward.
Three issues: I believe the top three issues facing Cheyenne include:
State revenues are in serious decline and this means Cheyenne will see far less money from the state for general operating expenses. This, combined with less sales tax revenue, means we must prioritize our spending. We simply won’t have the money over the next four years that we have had in prior years.
I am very concerned about using our savings account, our reserves, to fund pay increases for our non-uniformed employees. Undoubtedly, some of the raises are deserved, but giving them out now jeopardizes those very jobs in the future. If elected mayor, I will work with our city employees, the administration, and our council to create efficiencies, reduce expenses, and increase productivity.
We have over $48 million dollars in deferred maintenance that needs to be taken care of within the next five years. This didn’t happen overnight and we must do something about it now. We have built buildings and infrastructure without planning how we’re going to maintain it in the future. This must stop.
The state’s permanent mineral trust fund is a successful example of savings. I will work with the council to create a similar account where sales tax overages aren’t spent but instead saved into a permanent account. The interest from this account will be directed toward operating expenses and maintenance costs instead of making future generations scramble to fix crumbling buildings (as we’re doing now).
Our men and women in uniform must have the resources they need. This means staffing at appropriate levels, opportunities for continuing education and training, and supported recruitment and retention efforts. We must stop being the training ground for the Front Range and I will work with our Police and Fire administration to make sure this stops.
The joint command center for our police and fire departments is a much needed and impressive example of our commitment to those first responders. However, the state of our fire stations across Cheyenne are embarrassing in the least and a health hazard at most. Rotting ceilings and walls, 25-plus year-old carpets, and poor exhaust ventilation are some of the conditions our firefighters live in while protecting our lives and personal property. I will work with the city council and the administration to take care of these much-neglected maintenance needs.
The condition of many of our streets are reaching the point where if not repaired, present unsafe conditions for motorists. Patching potholes is not the answer. We continue to throw good money after bad when we don’t address the real issue: our roads are in need of repair. We must prioritize funding this critical infrastructure - our roads.
On day one I will create a task force to “fight the blight” comprised of volunteers — experts — in the legal, real estate, title company, and commercial development fields to establish an inventory of vacant and abandoned buildings to identify which of our buildings are at risk or endangered. We must work to avoid the situation we find ourselves in today with the cornerstones of our community literally rotting away.
I will work with city council to create an enforceable code, one that encourages growth with less red tape, and holds absentee owners - those economic squatters - accountable. We are fortunate to have proven organizations in our community like the Chamber and LEADS, and as mayor I will continue to have a good relationship with these groups.
Time and time again I have heard from developers that we must not use the unified development code as a one-size fits all book of rules and regulations, but rather take a meaningful approach that is considerate of new building technologies, best practices, and common sense. I couldn’t agree more, and I will ensure our planning and developing offices espouse a culture of “how may I help”. We must be business friendly.