May 7, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterFormer Riverton City Councilman Lars Baker is running for mayor.
Baker announced his candidacy Wednesday. He said he believes Mayor Ron Warpness will not seek re-election.
Baker first served in the city council in 2006 when he was appointed to fill a vacant seat. In December he retired from the Fremont County Weed and Pest District after 38 years and in that same month announced what he intended to be a brief resignation from the council. In order to receive state retirement benefits from Fremont County, Baker had to resign from the city position for 30 days because the city is covered under the same state retirement system.
The remaining council members opted not to reappoint Baker to the seat.
Describing himself as a "service oriented" person, Baker said he began thinking about running for mayor about six months ago, around the time he was not re-appointed to the council by votes from the council members and mayor. He added that if Warpness were running for mayor this year, he would not run against him.
"I really have spent my entire working career in public service," Baker said. "I've enjoyed working on the city council and being involved in city activity."
Baker said he feels now is a good time to "pay back to the community." He said he can offer his education, skills and talents and "maximize the gain" for community members.
Baker graduated from the University of Wyoming, where he received a degree in wildlife management and conservation in 1967. He also received a masters degree in public administration in 1994. He had a seven-year career in law enforcement before he took a job in Riverton with Fremont County Weed and Pest as an assistant supervisor. He was promoted to county supervisor and served in that position for many years.
Baker described the role of the mayor as the public face of the city who welcomes visitors, "promotes the city far and wide," interacts with many private and public groups, and maintains the goal of making Riverton a good place.
"Small, efficient government close to the people has great power to strengthen and protect the citizens of the community," he said. "My general goal is making Riverton a good place to live and keeping it that way."
Although he has no specific agenda items he'd plans to tackle, Baker has his eye on city services such as infrastructure, sewer, and sanitation.
"I want to make Riverton a nice, comfortable, clean, safe community," Baker said.
If elected, he said, he would continue applying the principles of good government and studying the issues that come before the city, as he did when he was on the council for seven years.
Baker is the first candidate to announce for mayor. The filing date begins on May 15 for this year's election. The primary election is Aug. 19, and the general election is Nov. 4.
Mayor is a non-partisan election, but it is on the primary election ballot. The top two finishers in the primary move to the general election.
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