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Lander attorney faces Thompson for District 5 county commission slot

Nov 4, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Nathan Maxon's dissatisfaction with current representation on the Fremont County Commission is why the Lander man said he is running for the District 5 seat.

"I haven't been happy with their lack of representation of differing view points in the county," Maxon said in a candidate interview.

Maxon is running as an Independent and will face commission chairman Doug Thompson in the Nov. 6 general election. Thompson, of the Jeffrey City area, secured the GOP nomination in the August primary election after defeating challengers Red Fyler and Jennifer McCarty. Thompson seeks a fourth term.

District 5 covers much of the county's southern portion including a section of Lander, Red Canyon, Atlantic City and Jeffrey City and a swath that stretches north to encompass east Riverton.

"I'm running because of Mr. Thompson's agenda-driven approach that lacks focus on the commission's basic duties and has wasted taxpayer resources," Maxon stated in a news release. "As an Independent, I will evaluate ideas and arrive at solutions without the constraint of ideology and a party's agenda. I will strive to listen, understand and represent what most people want and care about."

The candidate said he would bring a "balanced approach to policies and decisions that promotes governmental efficiency, recognized differing values, and will always result in a wide public benefit."

"If elected, I pledge to be accessible, transparent, diligent and open to the concerns and ideas of all local people," Maxon said.

In the interview, Maxon described an Independent as someone who draws ideas from both parties and doesn't consider ideas just because it's a Democratic or Republican idea. He feels the closer government is to the people, the higher the need to be more responsive and not have a rigid platform.

"One guiding principle for me is asking the question, is there a wide public benefit whenever the commission embarks on something," Maxon said.

The lifelong Wyoming resident said he feels there is a "very select group of interests being represented," giving the example of the Fremont County Natural Resource Planning Committee and public land planning in general.

"New ideas would be good, and I feel the discussion could be open a little more," Maxon said. "The Fremont County land use plan is basically a document the county uses to assert sovereignty over federal public lands. I think that document only represents some select interests. It's not bad to have representation, but others should not be ignored."

Maxon feels one of the biggest issues facing the county right now is the budget and keeping it in the black.

When asked about the ongoing issues with the county solid waste management, Maxon said it boils down to public education about the problem.

"As far as the commission, I think it's important that the commission stays informed of the board and attends the meetings," he said. "Boards don't need to be micromanaged but they do need support of the commission."

He said the county health insurance situation also goes back to the budget.

"County employees are the first in line of the county, and they deserve to have adequate health insurance for themselves and families," he said, suggesting getting the Legislature to change the law so that county employees could be added to the state employee insurance pool.

Another issue Maxon feels strongly about is E. coli in the Popo Agie River.

"It's sad people can't go play in the river or in the ditch at the park," he said. "It's a basic safety issue, and I would spend some energy working with the city and conservation districts to try and improve the situation."

Maxon is a lawyer and operates the Lander office of Jones and Maxon, a local law firm that provides general legal representation for Wyoming residents. Prior to opening his private law practice, he worked in industry, government and as part of a nonprofit.

"I don't have experience in public office, but I think having a legal education will be helpful in this position," Maxon said. "Legal education isn't just the courtroom. It's about how government and society works."

Maxon pledges to concentrate on local issues such as roads, bridges, solid waste disposal and the library, as a few examples.

He said he supports the proposed 1 percent sales and use tax appearing on the November ballot that would bring in funds for municipalities and the county to improve infrastructure.

"It will help all the communities," he said.

"I promise to focus my attention on the core duties of the commission, the basic duties, which are taking care of the needs of the local people," Maxon said. "It seems Mr. Thompson has his focus on the federal government, things I don't think affect people as much."

Maxon grew up in Fort Bridger and earned bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Wyoming. He is a longtime hunter and angler, and says he "values the quality open spaces and wildlife that can only be found in Wyoming."

Maxon and wife Valerie have a young son, Thomas.

"I have enjoyed meeting and listening to people on the campaign and I look forward to hearing the concerns of my fellow Fremont County residents," he stated in the news release.

Maxon can be contacted at 399-9515 or by e-mail at nate.maxon@gmail.com.

More information can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/MaxonForCommissionDistrict5.

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