Two commissioners to run again; Hickerson making up his mind

May 15, 2012 By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

Fremont County Commissioners Doug Thompson and Dennis Christensen are seeking re-election for their respective offices, while the other incumbent whose seat is on the primary ballot has not announced whether he will run again.

When asked Tuesday morning, commission vice chairman Pat Hickerson of Lander said he has not made a decision on whether he will seek the District 4 seat that is up for a two-year unexpired term.

During separate discussions this week, Thompson and Christensen confirmed they would each seek re-election.

"I am going to run again, yes," Christensen said, referring to the four-year seat in commission District 2. After serving many years on the Central Wyoming College board of directors, the Midvale-area farmer is seeking his second term on the commission.

Thompson on Monday said he would seek re-election for his seat in District 5. If successful in his campaign, the Jeffrey City rancher would earn election to his fourth four-year term on the board.

Hickerson, Christensen and Thompson are Republicans.

The candidate filing period for offices appearing on the primary election ballot opens on Thursday, May 17, and ends on June 1. The primary election is Aug. 21.

The announcement by the commission incumbents arrived as interest grows to see who will enter the contest.

Three commission districts are up for election this year: District 2 covering north Fremont County, District 4 covering much of Lander and District 5 spanning the county's south end.

In an interview Tuesday, Thompson said several issues motivated him to seek re-election this year, including the federal Bureau of Land Management's resource management plan

revision under way in the Lander field office.

"The people I've worked with at the BLM kind of encouraged me to run because of my experience and ability to address the issues. They felt it would be beneficial to complete the plan and prioritize implementation strategies," Thompson said. "This sage grouse issue, it's what's hanging the resource management plan up."

Thompson also is focusing on the county government's budget planning as financial concerns continue to build due to falling natural gas prices and other issues.

"There's the budget situation. I think my experience will help address those declining revenues and trying to ensure better revenue streams," he said.

"I guess my years of experience on the commission would be beneficial to address the various issues that come up, some of them every year and some new ones," he said.

Thompson opponent

Retired Lander businesswoman Jennifer McCarty, who is a vocal activist for the Tea Party movement in Fremont County, over the weekend announced her candidacy for commission District 5.

In a statement provided, she identified several issues she plans to address during her campaign.

"Keeping Fremont County fiscally independent will be my focus," McCarty wrote. "I will be fiscally prudent in guarding the county budget so it doesn't resemble the federal budget."

She also identified the state's boom-and-bust cycle with its dependence on the energy industry.

"I have worked in the coal mine industry. I saw the devastation to communities when mines are closed down. This causes the annual budget changes in the counties' revenues," she said.

"This can be a crucial turning point in revenue loss. This can also result in possible property tax increases. I will work diligently to cushion the Fremont County finances, so we can divert increased taxes," she said.

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