Retired as county planner, Price runs for commission

Jul 6, 2014 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

He may have just retired after 30 years of leading the Fremont County Planning Department, but Ray Price wants to keep serving local residents.

Now, however, he would like to be a county commissioner. He filed to run for that office May 29.

Price is running as a Republican for Commission District 4, which encompasses most of Lander. Incumbent Stephanie Kessler, an independent, also plans to run.

"I'm not dead yet, and I think it would be beneficial to have somebody who's had 36 years of experience in the trenches and to use that experience for leadership at the executive level," Price said.

Price is 66. He lives in Lander, as does one of his two adult daughters.

He was the planning director from 1984 until his retirement June 30. He started work in the planning department in1978. Before then, he worked as a cartographer for the City of Battle Creek, Mich.

His education includes a bachelor's degree in physical geography from Michigan State University and a master's in geology from the same school, Price said. He also has a master's in public administration from the University of Wyoming and a four-year degree in theology from Sewanee: University of the South.

He has served as an Episcopal priest for about 10 years at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lander.

"I don't really have burning issues that made me want to throw my hat in the ring. I just think we need some stronger leadership at the county commissioner level," Price said.

"I think some of the (other) elected officials have more influence on the county commissioners than is healthy."

He said transparency in government and responding promptly to taxpayer issues are important to him.

"I am really dedicated to service to the public, and I view everyone that has come through the Planning Department door as a stockholder in Fremont County, not a 'customer,'" Price said.

He does not support the $5 million project to build a justice center facility in Riverton to house a Circuit Court and offices for the Fremont County Sheriff and Attorney.

"I think it's a waste of money to have a justice center in Riverton... I think the public would be better served, and county government would be better served if it was all in one location," Price said, referring to locating all the facilities in Lander.

A courthouse in the county seat contains facilities for a Circuit and a District court along with offices for the Sheriff and County Attorney.

Price believes the negative reaction to the Environmental Protect-ion Agency's decision to give the Wind River Indian Reservation treatment as a state status and consider Riverton to be on the reservation was excessive.

"The EPA is a federal organization. It's not a court of law, and I was a little mystified as to why everybody freaked out because the EPA said the clean air area was what they defined as the reservation. To me, so what?" he said.

Price faces fellow GOP candidate Kathleen Cramer Averill in the Aug. 19 primary.

The winner would likely contest the Nov. 4 general election with Kessler. No Democrats have filed for the office, but a write-in nomination is possible.

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