Optional tax campaign was supported financially by construction industry; Kessler outspent Hickerson for Commission seat

(Editor’s note: All numbers in the following story are for the general election only. Spending for the primary was not included.)

By Joshua Scheer, reporter, county10.com

(Fremont County, Wyo.) – Donations by companies in the construction industry helped financially carry the Citizens for Improved Roads campaign, which lobbied in favor of the successful optional 1 percent sales tax.

One third of spending done by the group came from construction-related companies. Inberg-Miller Engineers, 71 Construction, Sehnert Systems Inc., Apex Surveyors, James Gores and Associates, and Boyle Electric gave a total of $2,050. In total, Citizens for Improved Roads spent $6,027.40, which equaled incoming contributions. Of the industry gifters, 71 Construction gave the most at $1,000.

The ballot initiative passed on Nov. 6 with 51 percent voting yes countywide. The Fremont County Commission and the municipalities have pledged the additional funds would be used only for road and infrastructure improvement.

The group received $2,724.90 from individuals. Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness gave the cause $1,013.50. More than $900 of it was a forgiven loan.

County Commission races

Fremont County Commission District 4 winner Stephanie Kessler (Independent) outspent incumbent Republican Pat Hickerson. Kessler reported $8,189.69 in expenditures. This was nearly double Hickerson’s spending of $4,462.98. However, Hickerson received $6,140.50 in contributions.

Commission District 5 incumbent Republican Doug Thompson received and spent $5,657.10 on his re-election. He defeated Independent candidate Nathan Maxon, whose reported expenditures totaled $1,494.09.

Riverton and Lander city council spending

Riverton City Council incumbents won re-election this year, but not necessarily because they spent more. In Ward 2, challenger Lee Martinez spent $305.59 against incumbent and winner Todd Smith’s zero spending.

In Ward 3, incumbent John “Lars” Baker beat his challenger. He spent $203 compared to Larry Bauman’s $10. Unopposed Ward 1 candidate Jonathan Faubion spent  nothing.

Both candidates in Lander’s Ward 2 spent hundreds. In winning re-election, Cade Maestas spent $914.24. Challenger Ken Stroh spent $307.50.

Lander Ward 3 candidate Wendell “Dick” Hudson reported $564.17 in spending. He beat incumbent Linda Barton, who reported $48 in expenses.

Winning Lander Ward 1 was Dan Hahn, who reported no spending. Running against him was Sollie Cadman, who spent $239.04.

School board spending

Only a small percentage of the Fremont County school district candidates reported spending money on their campaigns. Of school board candidates countywide, Brooke Sutton, vying for School District 1 in Lander, spent the most at $314.78 in winning her seat.