The head of the Casper Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is the newest member of the Natrona County Commission.

Brook Kaufman succeeds former commissioner Matt Keating, who was elected County Assessor in the November general election.

"For a long time I've encouraged the people around me to consider running for office, especially women, but just people around me to get involved in politics and be interested and know the issues," Kaufman said Tuesday.

"Finally, I just reached an intersection in my own life, and said, 'either you're going to do this now or you'll probably never going to do it,' and it felt like a really good time and the right opportunity to get involved," she said. "So obviously it worked out."

Kaufman was among the three candidates for the vacated post chosen by the Natrona County Republican Party's central committee on Feb. 9.

The other two were former Mills Town Council member Mike Pyatt and unsuccessful commission candidate Dave North in the August GOP primary.

The four commissioners interviewed Kaufman, Pyatt and North on Thursday morning, met in executive session, and reconvened to vote and announce their decision.

Kaufman said the commissioners asked her about the state's direct funding of $105 million for cities and towns, and how the Legislature should address that in future sessions.

Commissioners also asked her how she perceived the relationship between the counties and the state and their respective roles, she said.

Kaufman is the director of the Casper Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is funded by the county's lodging tax.

Her position does not pose a conflict of interest and she will not need to resign from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, she said.

"We're governed by state statutes," Kaufman said. "So the commission appoints to the Visit Casper board, but I did reach out to the county attorney just to make sure that we were clear on lines."

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