Casper citizens turned out in droves for a candidate meet-and-greet and barbecue at City Park on Wednesday.

Over 30 candidates were at the event, which was put on by the Casper-Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The chamber of commerce got this going for all of the candidates, and, if you want to meet the candidates, this is a good time to do it,” Natrona County Commission candidate Robert Hendry said. “I drove in from the ranch this morning, and I’m glad to be here – there are a lot of candidates here.”

Hendry, a Republican who faces 10 other commission candidates vying for three seats, said he has the right experience to be re-elected.

“I’ve been in for a couple of terms, I think the county commissioners work as a cohesive group, and I’d appreciate your vote,” Hendry said.

Candidates for local, state and national office were in attendance. Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Thomas Bleming is aiming to unseat Sen. Mike Enzi.

“I came, I met a lot of people and introduced myself – some people know I’m running and some don’t, but I’m glad I came,” Bleming said.

Bleming said, of the people he talked with Wednesday, many were upset with the current Wyoming U.S. Senate delegation.

“People seem to be having a great bit of angst over the future,” Bleming said. “There are major issues that haven’t been addressed, like immigration and senior citizen issues.”

Bleming also said he supports the decriminalization of marijuana for medical purposes. He also said he supports civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Wyoming Secretary of State candidate Pete Illoway said his attendance made sense strategically.

“The barbecue is great, and I get to see a lot of folks,” Illoway said. “So, this is the logical place before heading off to the hinterland of Wyoming.”

Illoway said he possesses the correct experience for the position, which will be vacated after Max Maxfield finishes his current term.

“I’ve served 14 years in the legislature on the corporations, elections and political subdivisions committee – I was eight years as the chairman for that committee, and that committee is where the secretary of state reports,” Illoway said.

Embattled superintendent of public instruction Cindy Hill also made an appearance.

“Natrona County citizens are interested and curious about where their government is taking them, and whether it’s listening to them – I’m listening, and I’m here for them today,” Hill said.

Hill is looking to overtake incumbent Matt Mead and Taylor Haines for the Republican nomination for governor.

“Cindy Hill will protect your interests, as I’ve been doing – I’ve been protecting your rights since I walked through the door,” Hill said. “The First Amendment right to speak in public buildings – that was one of the first issues that came before the building commission. I was the only one on the building commission that thought the people’s rights mattered.”

Moments after being interviewed, a report was released by a legislative committee that claimed Hill, while running the state's education department, ignored federal and state laws and considered regulatory compliance a "bureaucratic nuisance."

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