Local Democrats Announce Candidacies For House, Commission
Several Democrats recently announced their intentions to run for local offices.
Natrona County Democratic Party Chairman Brett Governanti said the caucuses Saturday at the Casper Events Center to choose delegates for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders show a strong interest in national politics.
But that means little in practice if Democrats don't run for local offices because all Natrona County House and Senate members are Republicans, as are all five Natrona County commissioners, Governanti said later.
"We do have to bring that back to local issues, we do have to bring that back to our State Legislature and the issues that are going on there," he said. "I think that today really did a good job at bringing that national focus back down into our State Legislature.
Eric Nelson, chairman of the party convention on Saturday, said he serves on the board of the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosts forums for local legislators before and after the session.
They congratulate themselves for doing a good job when times are good, but Nelson pointed out some of them are retiring now that the economy has turned south.
And some legislators refused to act on Medicaid expansion, he said.
Republican Gov. Matt Mead has realized how much good it would do for Wyoming taxpayers to recover more than $260 million their tax money through the expansion, Nelson said.
By not accepting that money, the Legislature cut a preschool literacy program that cost 35 jobs, he said.
"These are not decisions that are being made in the best interests of the people of Wyoming. These are ideological decisions that have nothing to do with what's best for the people."
At a club Saturday evening, Nelson made these remarks before local Democrats candidates repeated or announced their candidacies:
- Dan Neal is running for House District 56 in central Casper, which will be an open seat because Rep. Tim Stubson is leaving to run in the Republican primary for the U.S. House seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis.
- Laurie Longtine is running for House District 59 in west Casper and Mills. That seat is held by Bunky Loucks.
- Deirdre Stoelzle is running for House District 37 in south Casper and Casper Mountain. That seat is held by Steve Harshman.
- Terry Wingerter will run for county commission. Wingerter lost a bid for re-election in 2014.
Candidates will formally file with the Wyoming Secretary of State's Office from May 12th through May 27th.