GILLETTE, Wyo. — Election season is well underway and County 17 has sent a list of questions to each candidate who has filed to run for a municipal office.
These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. All candidate responses submitted to County 17 are republished as they are received.
Below, get to know Shaun Hottell who is running for a seat on the Gillette City Council as a representative of Ward 3:
- Who are you?
I am Shaun Hottell and am running for City Council Ward 3. I was born in Douglas and grew up mostly in western Nebraska. I attended Southeast Community College in Milford, NE and graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Technologies. I have worked in Electrical Maintenance since 2001 and have worked in Coal-fired power plants for the last 15 years including Dry Fork Station for the last ten. I married my wife, Helen in 2002 and we have three children who are currently attending school in Gillette from grade school to high school. We moved to Gillette in 2012 and have loved this great town since we moved here. We enjoy the low taxes, great schools, rec center, local businesses, walking paths, and above all the great residents who have been very welcoming.
- Why have you decided to run for office and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?
I have decided to run for City Council mostly because I love Gillette and would like to have a contribution to the future of it. Gillette needs to have a more diverse economy in order to have sustained growth. I would like for new and existing businesses to see Gillette as a great place to either relocate to or start new businesses. We have a community full of people with strong work ethics and skills. As we continue to grow, we also need to be mindful of maintaining what we already have.
- How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
In order for Gillette to be attractive to businesses looking for places to build, Gillette needs to be active in recruiting those potential businesses. We cannot always depend on the Energy Industry to support our community. We also need to work with Gillette College to insure that they have appropriate education for our workforce and that the students will have great local job opportunities upon graduation. As a councilman, I will always be open to ideas on how to improve our great city.
- What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
I am currently on the City Planning Commission and see planning, zoning, and developmental matters first hand. On the Planning Commission, we have public meetings similar to City Council so I am familiar with Wyoming Open Meetings Law and Robert’s Rules of Order. My background in utilities and maintenance will be very beneficial to City Council as we make decisions.
- Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?
I will be a good steward with taxpayer dollars. I am mindful that this money does not belong to the City of Gillette but to the hard-working taxpayers. We need to make sure that we have rainy days funding available as we can never predict future funding. We need to make sure that we are fiscally responsible and are making prudent investments.
- On the issue of transparency, where do you stand on ensuring all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public attendance?
Wyoming Open Meetings Law need to be followed in order for council to be open and transparent to the citizens. This should never be the choice of City Council. We need to follow the laws. The laws are in place to insure that public business is open and transparent.
7. Do you believe the office or board position you seek has been open and honest with the public? If yes, how can the entity remain open and transparent when conducting public business moving forward. If not, what changes would you implement to ensure that all future dealings are open and transparent?
I believe that City Council has been doing much better recently to be open with the public. The council needs to continue following the laws to remain open and transparent to the public.
- If you are presiding over a meeting and a topic was being discussed that you didn’t fully understand, would you ask for a more detailed explanation during the meeting or would you seek the information after the meeting?
Yes. I always ask questions if I am unsure about something. Often people that are watching will have similar questions.
- Should you be elected, or re-elected, do you plan on seeking any major policy changes in your chosen office? If yes, what would those changes be? If not, why?
I will be open for any Policy Changes regarding making Gillette more inviting to businesses and being more business friendly. I would like for there to be a streamlined process for any business to come to town and policies need to be such that there are few hurdles to jump to start a new business.
- What impact do you feel sports tourism has on Gillette and does that impact justify the costs of the Energy Capital Sports Complex, commonly referred to as the “Field of Dreams”?
Sports tourism has a tremendous impact on Gillette. Sports tourism is rapidly growing and is likely to remain this way. There have been thousands of people that travel here for sports. When they visit here, they spend substantial money at our local businesses. It may not be justifying the cost of the Sports Complex yet but I feel that over time it will. My main concern is that we need to make sure that we are maintaining what we have. I have heard complaints about Bicentennial Park having major drainage issues last spring. We need to mitigate any issues like that.
- How can your community prepare for future economic downturns resulting from volatile energy markets and a potential global shift away from coal?
Our community can prepare for downturns by diversification. We shouldn’t have all of our eggs in one basket. Gillette needs to be active in recruiting businesses to this area. We need to utilize Gillette College to help provide the skilled workforce necessary for jobs in a diverse economy. Gillette is also on the cutting edge of new energy technologies and it needs to remain this way.