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.


  1. John Clark

    I cannot understand Wyoming people. They support tea party candidates vote overwhelming for a party that hates taxes then they are the first to have their hand out. hypocrites they are.

  2. The distinction does not lie with Republicans and Democrats, it lies with ignorant voters playing into a scheme.
    The tax is a cancer because at its core, it creates funding that can be spent by county officials without oversight from the state.
    That "oversight" cut down on a great deal of unnecessary projects, which now can be funded at the county level.

    Who benefits from rather useless road improvements?
    The scumbag buisnesses who fronted this tax, and (possibly?) county officials who supported it.
    Meanwhile the rest of us now pay an additional sales tax in a time of recession.
    I leave with a simple quote,

    "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money"-Alexis de Tocqueville.

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