County Commissioner Candidate Responses: What’s The Proper Role of Commissioners?

(Gillette, Wyo.) A lot of people have stepped up to run for public office in Campbell County, including 11 candidates for county commissioner. The list of commissioner candidates includes three incumbents.

As part of our goal here at County 17 of informing voters for the upcoming primaries, we are sending out unique questions for each race to let voters get a better understanding of who the candidates are.

Each day this week, we’ll be sending out responses from commissioner candidates for one question. (Previous responses can be found here, here and here).

The primaries are Aug. 21.

What do you think the proper role of the County Commissioners is at the state, regional, and national level? Do you think it is important that the county engage at all of the above levels? (limit 300 words)

Matt Avery

Campbell County Commissioners are members of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, (WCCA) Some of us sit on different committees such as Energy, Transportation, Revenues, and Public Lands just to name a few. All of these committees have an impact on Campbell County and it is very important for us to be at the table on these committees. I currently sit on the Public Lands committee.

Regional, and national level? Also, the Campbell County Commissioners sit on different committees at the National level as well. I sit on the Public Land Steering Committee and I also serve as board member of the Western Interstate Regional Board. Once again, I feel very strongly that if you are not on the table, you are on the menu.

Not only do I believe it is important to sit on these national committees but also to go visit all the different departments when we are in DC to build a good relationship with them so that they better understand what goes on the Wyoming and in Campbell County. Those departments are the BLM, Forest Service, Department of Ag, Fish & Wildlife, Department of Energy and the Department of Environmental Quality. Over the years of visiting with them we are seeing a difference in how they do business in our county. It has helped speed up the permitting process, we have been able to shorten the view shed around the Pumpkin Buttes and develop some land restoration on the Thunder Basin Grass Lands.

At the state level, it is important to be engaged as it brings all of the county commissioners together to work on issues for the betterment of the state.

Rusty Bell

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Representing Campbell County at the state, regional and federal level is crucial to being a good commissioner. Many of the issues that Campbell County industries face are issues that derive from the state and especially the federal level. As county commissioners we are designated as a cooperative agent to federal agencies. This means we have a seat at the table and a voice for Campbell County residents and businesses. If we do not attend these meetings and have a voice, then Campbell County people have no voice.

The same is true for the state issues including legislation that either benefits or hinders people and business in Campbell County. It is important to become comfortable testifying in legislative committees and forming relationships with legislators around Wyoming. These relationships are important when communicating with legislature about future issues. As a commissioner if you are not taking time to attend legislative committee meetings and getting familiar with the legislative process, then you are doing a disservice to the people of Campbell County.

Linda Bricker

(No photo provided.)
Since I have never served on the commission I am sure I am still going to learn all that is entailed in this job. I understand there are workshops, trips here and there and truthfully I will do what is necessary to fulfill this position. Just like any job you do, you must be ready to step up when called upon. As far as engaging in all of these levels, I am sure I am willing to figure it all out. If I can work in the medical profession for 32 years and learn all that that entailed I am sure I can be made to understand what is required in all these levels. I feel somewhat like this is a “gotcha” question as those who have already served know exactly what is entailed. Especially those who have been there over eight years. I would much rather tell the truth about my abilities than “blow smoke” to the public. Given the opportunity, I will be ready to take whatever steps are necessary to learn this job.

Randy Greer

The role of a County Commissioner is to serve both the executive and legislative duties while enacting local ordinances. A County Commissioner should be present at all levels simply to know what is going on at each and when topics arise, they should be discussed in an open public manner. This will alleviate confused between the public and those who hold such positions. Priority: “the right to take precedence or to proceed before others”

Roy Lowell

The County Commissioners first responsibility is to the local entities that they serve. Their job is extensive. That being said Campbell County is entering a new and expanded era. The Commissioners can offer a great deal of leadership into the future if they are competent. Their contacts from the local populace gives insight into the needs and desires of the county. The county’s growth will in turn give growth and insight to the State. The Commissioners need to be involved with the State level politics in order to steer the political scene in the right direction. This is a must. The Federal Level needs to be monitored closely. Campbell County needs GREAT negotiators looking out for our best interests. When the State and the County are ailing and no advice or solutions are offered by the legislators then our Federal Senators and Congress person is pretty weak. We must stay engaged and direct from home to our representatives. If no response then we must send the message. After all it is a government of and by the people.

The growth of our economy will need help from our agencies in many faceted areas. The agencies that help develop our economy cannot set idle. If we have our crosshairs targeting 23 years out for our next development then we need more effort. We need development targeting on several layers and time span. 3 to 5 year and 8 to 10 year goals are typical. All levels should be feeling the sense of urgency and if they are not engaging then we need to replace them.

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Bob Maul

(No photo provided.)
The County Commissioners should be active at all three levels in order to stay current and up to date on many issues affecting us. Unfortunately we have many individuals and organizations that want to control how we operate and run our lives and communities. Many of these individuals have never been to our great state or county. They believe what they are told by the news media and negative comments from politicians looking to discredit an area or industry that they have never been to and have not seen the actual process that they wish to condemn. These individuals and organizations do not understand the process, operation, or procedures they are condemning. These also include many of the issues with wildlife, endangered species and much more. They are very quick to condemn thing such as fossil fuels, ways of live, management of wildlife and many others. So we must stay engaged at all levels to protect our great communities and citizens of Wyoming and Campbell County from ideas and images that simply are not true or accurate. Wyoming and Campbell County are my home and I will do whatever it takes to support and defend it from outsiders that would wrongfully attack us. I have been told and believe that it you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. If we do not step up to the table to be heard then we cannot help make a positive change. We must continue to carry our positive message across this great nation and we as commissioners are up to that task.

Troy McKeown

A key role of the County Commission is to develop and maintain healthy relationships with the City, State, and Federal agencies. This allows the County Commission to help shape decisions at different levels that will affect our community. Issues arise over a number of different areas. You could write a book on all of them. One of the key issues that requires different levels to work together is zoning. There are many competing issues in this area. Another, is a variety of regulations. Good regulatory practice is a must. Knee jerk reactions to problems with new regulations will only squelch further economic growth. It is time to return some freedoms and liberties back to the citizens of our county and let them make decisions for themselves. Everyone must be held accountable for their decisions, this especially includes all ELECTED OFFICIALS.

DG Reardon

Participation at the state, regional and national levels for issues that directly affect Campbell County is critical.  There are times that local knowledge or local input can shape the debate in a positive manner for Campbell County.  When decisions are made that could affect Campbell County it is best that decision makers have the best information possible and that information comes from someone with in depth knowledge of Campbell County.  Commissioners should have that knowledge.  Another example of broader participation is the opportunities that are associated with Economic Development.  If Commissioners never leave the County they would not know what businesses or events are looking for new locations to either start something new or relocate.  There are many more examples of the value in state, regional and national participation that are too numerous to list here.  However, it has been discussed at several forums and public meetings that improved communications is the key to a positive outcome in most discussions.  This holds true at all levels of government not just the County Commissioners level.

Brian Rozier
This candidate did not provide responses.

Micky Shober

Staying involved at all levels. Because of this, we have been successful advocating for Campbell County at the state level with DEQ issues.
Working on BLM issues at all levels.

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Ensuring that the voices of Campbell County residents are heard. It is vital for Commissioners to be involved at all three levels. For example, we have been successful working with the State of Wyoming regarding environmental issues, land use, and reducing impacts to our energy industry.

Robert J. Kothe (Democrat)
This candidate did not provide responses.


Originally from New Mexico, Killough began his career writing freelance for a weekly magazine in Albuquerque while completing his undergraduate degree. In addition to reporting on uranium mining in western New Mexico, he spent three years reporting in western North Dakota during the height of the oil boom. He can be reached at or 701-641-6603.