Kyle Larson, left, and Martin Cannan take the oath of office from Mayor Ron Warpness Tuesday night after being appointed to the Riverton City Council. (Ernie Over photo)
(Riverton, Wyo.) – The Riverton City Council is once again back at full strength. After 11 minutes of deliberation, the five city council members appointed Kyle Larson in Ward I and Martin Cannan in Ward III to fill the vacancies after councilors Eric Heiser and John “Lars” Baker resigned in December.
Each candidate, four in Ward I and two in Ward III, were asked the same five questions from the sitting council, and each was given 10 minutes. Here are the responses of the successful candidates:
In his interview with the council, Larson said he was interested in serving the city. He said he came here to be a plant manager and after a number of years became in in real estate and now he wants to see Riverton continuing to be a desireable place to live. “I have the ability to further that along,” he said. “Eric (Heiser) was my neighbor and he did a good job, he was mindful of his constituents and I’d like to continue that. “
Larson said his idea of public service is to represent the best interests of those people in your area. “To seek input from your constituents, neighbors and friends and do the best for them and the city of Riverton, while at the same time being honest and making the best decision for the public.”
When asked what his number one priority would be, Larson said he thought that Riverton would soon see a large influx of people due to the “world class” reserves of natural gas here. “We need to maintain the type of community that we are presently; By maintaining our standard of living allows us to live in the community we all love,” he said.
In answer to a question about what best qualifies him to serve on the council, Larson said it was communication and working with people. “I’m a mortgage broker, I work with people constantly. “I do the right thing voluntarily, being honest and transparent.”
As to his general philosophy of governance, Larson had a simple answer. “To make the best decision for those I represent,” he said. “I have no axe to grind.” Larson also said a person needs to have respect. “We show respect and in doing so we get the most of the people that we represent and be transparent.” He said he wanted the best “for my community.”
In summing up, Larson said he would like to help improve service at the Riverton airport, keep up with the roads, the winterization and utilization of equipment and such. “A lot of things have changed since I’ve been here, and we need to continue to move forward and change.”
Martin Cannan told the council he was career Air Force and a specialist in nuclear command and control until his retirement from the service in 2003. Originally from Upstate New York, Cannan , he gained a Masters in business administration while stationed in North Dakota. “I spent 27 years in the military and I enjoyed that,” he said. After relocating to Riverton, he worked as a correctional officer at the Wyoming Honor Farm and is currently employed in security at the Social Security office. “I enjoy living here just like everybody else and it could be better. The place to kickstart that is here,” he said.
To be a public servant, Cannan said one would have to “make yourself accountable to the people who hired you to look out for their best interests. They have elected officials they put their trust in to look over their best interest. That’s what being a public servant is. To make Riverton a better place to live and grow.”
Cannan said he thought there were several projects that he would consider a priority, including the One percent optional tax for roads. “The thing I would like to see is more things for younger people to do and also for adults. I don’t feel that Riverton has those things to offer to go out at night and sit with friends and talk and discuss. The young folks don’t have the opportunity outside of the high school. I would like to see a lot to improve Riverton in those directions,” he said.
He told the sitting council that his qualifications for the job would be the experience he gained in his military career. “You had to be accountable to the senior officers or generals, to your crew and analyze a variety of situations and ask the right questions to come up with a solution. There was no room for error, I had to do the right thing and make it happen,” he said.
Philosophically, Cannan had a short and direct answer. “I think the best thing to do is the right thing, whether it’s the best thing for yourself or the council or your ward. You have to do the best thing for the community,” he said. “whether it is the popular thing or not.” He said elected officials work for the entire community, get input and make their best judgment.
At the conclusion of the meeting, and in their first comments as a city council member, Cannan said he appreciated the appointment “and I will do my best to get up to speed and help out and move forward.” When it as his turn, Larson quipped that the last time he sat on a board, he was given a ping pong paddle with a ball on a string and told to go in the corner to practice until he grew up. “Right now I’m looking for that paddle. I am honored to serve and I feel I will have to start running quick, but I know where brother Gard’s office is so I’ll bd down there.”
To the unsuccessful candidates, Mayor Ron Warpness thanked them for putting their names forward and urged them to stay involved. He said he had personal experience of not being successful in running for an office before, “so I know how you feel. Don’t give up.”
Those candidates who sought the appointment included former city council members John “Lars” Baker and Betty Malicki, plus Phil Lavoie and Waylon Oldman.