Meet Your Candidates: Natrona County Commissioners (4 year term)
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - We reached out via email to all candidates running for a spot on the Natrona County Commissioner (4 year term). Below are the candidates running who responded to our request. The information below is written by the candidates and unedited by Wyoming News Now.
James “Jim” Milne
Occupation: Rocky Mountain/Alaska Area Oilfield Safety, Hay Farmer, County Commissioner, Family man
Political Experience: 1 Term County Commissioner
How long have you lived in Natrona County? A Lifelong resident of Natrona County, I was raised on the Milne Coral Creek Ranch south of Casper in the Bates Hole Area.
Why are you running? I am seeking re-election as I have gained the experience with my first term to provide a greater service to our community and feel I have more to offer the county. I will continue leading in the reduction of Natrona County’s rules and obsolete regulations in planning. This will allow private property owners to have control of their own property. I will continue my past two years of work with legislators. I will further testify on state committees, for an actual fair property tax system, specifically a state property tax based on acquisition value. I am integrally involved in county building projects which need to be completed while staying on budget.
What is Natrona County’s biggest challenge? Natrona County is not just the City of Casper and decisions made by the Board of County Commissioners will affect those people living out in the county or the smaller towns to a greater extent than the cities within the county, however, the commissioners must remember they represent all of Natrona county’s citizens. While there are many challenges this county will face in the future, it is incumbent upon anyone elected to the position of County Commissioner to protect and responsibly use the treasures entrusted to the county by its residents. Whether funds are used for operations and retaining quality employees, or managing of county properties, this responsibility is and always should be one of the greatest concerns a commissioner always keeps in mind.
Additional Information: During my first term I led in the effort to have transparency within the government by working with the county IT department in developing a system for streaming meetings and keeping them in an online library for later access. I initiated the plan for an online scheduling system for Board of Equalization hearings. I have also kept the new county zoning rewrite and Casper Mt Land Use Plan update online for review and comments by the public while under development.
I wrote and introduced the Natrona County Second Amendment Protection Resolution (20-21) while collaborating with Natrona County Sheriff Harlin, which passed unanimously.
During the COVID pandemic I led in the development, writing of, and introduction of the Natrona County Resolution (74-20) reference variances for the State of Wyoming’s Orders #1 and #2 concerning COVID mandates in an effort to help keep private businesses and public offices open.
Occupation: Retired Military & Small Business Owner
Political Experience: 2 years as Precinct Committeewoman
How long have you lived in Natrona County? 10 yrs.
Why are you running? To bring diversity of thought to the Board and to protect property rights.
What is Natrona County’s biggest challenge? Rising Property Taxes
Additional Information: I’m running for Natrona County Commissioner.
Occupation: Family Medicine physician, Medical Director of Wyoming Recovery
Political Experience: Primary campaign for State Senate District 28. Board experience with St Anthony’s Tri-parish Catholic School, Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions, Casper/Natrona County Board of Health, Wyoming Medicaid Physicians Advisory Board. Current Vice chair of Wyoming Wildlife Foundation Board.
*How long have you lived in Natrona County? I grew up in Rock Springs and have lived in Casper since 1999.
Why are you running? To give voters a choice and serve my community
What is Natrona County’s biggest challenge? Pollution—air, light, noise, litter. Public health. Peace and security.
Additional Information: I think my experience on a number of previous boards and my long practice as a physician in family medicine and addiction medicine have prepared me to competently serve Natrona County.
Occupation: Member Solutions Specialist at Reliant FCU
Political Experience: current trustee on the Natrona County School Board since 2018
How long have you lived in Natrona County? I have lived in Casper my whole life, excluding the 4 years I attended Patrick Henry College.
Why are you running? I am running because I have always had a passion for government and politics, and I believe local government plays an incredibly important role in citizens’ everyday lives. If elected, I would bring a unique perspective to the County Commission as a young female who has served on a different elected board. I believe I could contribute new ideas to solve old problems.
What is Natrona County’s biggest challenge? I believe Natrona County’s biggest challenge will be finding sources of revenue that don’t require raising taxes. Raising taxes seems to be local government’s go-to solution, but it is one of the least popular and can negatively affect an individual’s or family’s bottom line. As the economy declines and inflation continues at historically unprecedented levels, I believe the county will need to look into new and creative ways to continue to maintain their services.
Occupation: Petroleum Engineer
Political Experience: I have been in the trenches of local government for over 20 years in both City Councilman and County Commissioner roles serving 3 times as the Mayor of Casper and currently the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. In the past 4 yours, I participated in hundreds of hours of taxpayer appeals, the sale of the Wyoming Medical Center, and successfully help navigate the County through the Covid pandemic.
How long have you lived in Natrona County? 27 years
Why are you running? I want to continue to work with our Legislators, the Department of Revenue, and the County Commissioner’s association to come up with workable solutions to the soaring property taxes. Also, I want to continue working on several key projects that will have long term positive repercussions on Natrona County’s citizens. These projects include a new County Health building and the library. Both pose funding problems, but with careful planning, should not cost the citizens of Natrona County any additional taxes. Finally, this current economic environment creates challenges that need to be carefully navigated and my experience and knowledge is of value to the BOCC.
What is Natrona County’s biggest challenge? The biggest challenge for Natrona County is allocating its limited resources to adequately provide the services the citizens expect from their County government.
Political Experience: Precinct Committeeman Natrona County Republican Party
How long have you lived in Natrona County? 50 years
Why are you running? Natrona County has been good to my family for many generations and I want to try to give back and serve this great place and its people.
What is Natrona County’s biggest challenge? The biggest daily challenges for the people and businesses of Natrona County are inflation and property taxes. The biggest challenge for Natrona County will be finding the right balance between having the rules and regulations and government that we need and want for a strong and vibrant community without sacrificing our personal property rights and freedom.
Additional information: I have lived in Casper as well as the County and know that there is no one-size-fits-all for Natrona County. I have a varied work background and I have owned and managed companies in key industries here, including ranching and farming, oil, and real estate. As an attorney, I represented clients in property tax battles and I have helped businesses work through governmental regulations for decades. I’ve also served on many organizational boards. This background this will make me a highly effective member of the County Commission.
My name is Dallas Laird. I am a Wyoming lawyer. I have been standing up for Natrona County people my entire career. I have a depth of political experience. I served on the Casper City council from 2017-2019. I have served on many boards, including the Natrona County Airport Board and the Wyoming Medical Center Board. I was an instructor at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy for several years. I was born in the Natrona County Memorial Hospital in 1946. I have lived here most of my life except when I went to the University of Wyoming. I graduated with two degrees. A bachelors in Journalism and a Juris Doctor (Law) degree. I also went to Casper College. I am running for the office of County Commissioner because the people of Natrona County needed someone to fight these huge property taxes. It may have been the largest tax hike in the history of Natrona county! Natrona county’s biggest challenge is to defeat this huge tax problem. Further, we must adopt a very aggressive economic development plan. It is vital to bring in new businesses and to help struggling businesses. We have to work hard to keep our children here and to have opportunities for them. They are our future! We must listen to our citizens! I stand with our citizens!
My name is Terry Wingerter, I am 75 years old and I have lived in Casper, WY since 4 years of age. I am retired. My hobbies are volunteering as much as I can around the community including driving for Meals on Wheels up to three time a week. I am currently in the Kiwanis Club, serving on the board and have been a member for 25 years and have worked on numerous projects sponsored by the club. I am also on boards such as Casper City Planning and Zoning, and Skyline Towers. All of my adult life I have volunteered for various civic projects and numerous community undertakings.
I am running for a 4-year county commissioner seat. The property tax issue is a big concern currently in the county. I have always had a great interest in local city and county government, One Cent Projects and at the present time I have been attending Natrona County Commissioner meetings. There have been issues over the last few years that I have been very concerned over and needed more information such as the wind towers around the vicinity near Ormsby Road, in how they affected the neighborhood and airport landing paths. When the airport board and County Planning & Zoning Board voted against these wind towers, the current county commissioners didn’t listen to these boards and voted for the wind towers. I am also very concerned about the availability of air travel in and out of Natrona County. I believe the commissioners need to be more transparent with some of their decisions to the public.
I recently attended a revenue committee meeting on June 27th that held a round table discussion dealing with how to assist in management of the property tax-escalation issue. I plan to work with our legislators to find a solution to deal with these inconsistent statewide tax issues for the property owners. There were options proposed which is a good start that were prepared by Representative Simpson and Senator Dockstader. I intend to work on this issue. I have talked with a multitude of people who are unhappy with the current appeal process for their property taxes. This is a statewide issue and the number one issue in Natrona County. And to the everyday issues; whether it is the mountain, roads, bridges or park, I will always work my hardest to get solutions done for the people of the county.
I was on the Casper City Council for 8 years and a Natrona County Commissioner for 20 years. I have served on most of the boards in the city and county governments and have been involved in many projects such as the Annex building out at the Fairgrounds, the current Townsend Justice Center, the county detention center and a variety of other projects. Government and civic activities have always been my passion since I was in Boy Scouts. I was on the commission when we promoted the fire district with the county fire department. I also went out one day with some of the county fire crew to talk to the rural residents about voting for the issue to proceed with a special district in the county fire department.
I believe public monies should be treated as a precious resource and that those monies should be conserved. My primary life-long jobs were in commission sales at KTWO Radio and an Account Executive for Wyoming Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I know how to budget because I have worked with the city and county officials on several budgets in good times and tight times. I have been involved with 28 years of input on budgets.
I am all for transparency. You are an elected official and you work for the public. Other than dealing with legal or personnel concerns, there should be complete openness. I will insist on being a public servant to represent the people and they have the right to know what is going on when conducting public business. I have the time and experience to listen to anyone’s concerns and will always be
available to help. I would like to see more cooperation between the six municipalities and the county. Some projects are spread out in a lengthy time, such as the picnic shelter and the Nordic center, and should be completed in a timely manner. The county roads are always an important issue and should always be properly maintained. County employees should always be adequately paid. Our Health Department has done an outstanding job in the past few years dealing with COVID and it has become apparent that they need a larger building. Natrona County has well-trained deputies that keep our citizens, old and young, safe.
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