(Riverton, WY) – County 10 contacted all the mayoral candidates across the County to ask them a few questions.
Richard Gard is running for his second term as Riverton mayor. He has lived in Riverton for 65 years and owns both Gardcrafted and Professional Home Design.
Below is a Q&A transcript of our interview, which has been edited for clarity and length.
County 10: How did you become involved in government?
Richard Gard: Jim Davis was our Councilman and Mayor Vincent, who is a good friend of mine, but we have a different political strain; they put in a city administrator, and then they commenced to try to hide the fact that they put in a city administrator and at the time $100,000 plus job was expensive to Riverton. Councilman Smith ran, I ran against Jim, and Mayor Warpness ran. All three of us got elected, and so that would be 12 years ago. I was just the father who spent more time doing baseball and things for my kids, and I was down to one kid left at home, and I felt like Riverton needed some representation.
C10: Why are you running for another term?
RG: I want to put the people back in charge of Riverton. I hope my example of spraying weeds and fixing the park gets people up off their couch and that they come out and help us with important things. Kids need something to do. When I was a kid, we just had four sports: soccer, wrestling, basketball, and football. And that’s all you did. We just went from those four and everybody played, and nowadays you got all these video games and all these other interests that people have. We’ve become a little bit selfish, in my opinion. To have a good community, we need to participate. Come to meetings. Voice your opinion. That’s what I hope to end up with before I’m done, and the taxpayers feel like they’re back in charge.
C10: What is a challenge you faced during your time as mayor?
RG: I was told by many people that we couldn’t clean up City Park. And I just knew we could, and it’s not me. I didn’t do it. The police chief was a big part of that. The people going and using the park, not being chased off. We had some real problems. That splash pad was not my doing, but it didn’t work really well. So, we took some black eyes on that. But we stayed in there, and now it’s culinary water, so it’s a little costly to the city. But we only run it from, I believe, 10 to two and four to six or eight or something like that. We’ve made arrangements there, but I think my biggest accomplishment is that people like Riverton better than they did in the past. And I think that’s part of getting out, using it, and driving up and down Main Street. You know, not somebody dictating to you what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do. I think that’s a big part.
C10: What do you believe is the most pressing issue facing City Council in 2022?
RG: Well, I think what we’ve done with City Council we’re past it is the hospital. We’ve actually funded almost a million dollars through City Hall. That’s not us; that’s the taxpayer again. We’ve passed $880,000 through in half-cent tax. We passed through another $60,000 plus in fees that we’re not going to charge in water hookup fees. And many people are critical and will say, “well, you know, they should pay that.” Well, it’s our hospital, if we can get it up. And I would like to see those sticks come out of the ground and, instead of talk, turned into something. I think people would vote quicker for the half-cent tax.
C10: What is one thing you wish people knew about Riverton?
RG: I think Riverton is the economic goldmine. It’s easy living in Riverton. It’s a great place to raise a family. The schooling is fabulous. The community is fabulous. The access to the mountains and to the outdoors – you can’t find a better spot. Good things are happening here. Come enjoy. Be with us; come to the Riverwalk, the Dog Park, the Day in the Park, and the Rendezvous Games. Come and have fun with the people. It’s a fun place to live.
C10: Anything else you wish to share?
RG: I just don’t want to be a politician by trade. It’s not necessarily comfortable. It’s hard on my wife. We’ve had two shootings on different streets, and I insisted I was gonna go down and talk to the neighbors and Tony said, “that’s not a good idea.” He went with me on both occasions and was amazed at how the people really appreciated somebody being interested. In one of the houses, a nine-millimeter shot through the window, went through the wall, and hit the back of their son’s computer. It’s just, you know, we’re interested. What can we help with? A little spackle for the hole in the wall and a new piece of glass and you’re back in business, but it’s not something they did to deserve any of that. And I think just the communication on those and right down to trash pickup and somebody that actually cares when you’re on the phone. My phone number is out there. It’s 851-1627. If you have a problem getting your trash picked up, your weeds cut, or you don’t like your water bill, give me a call, and we’ll go to work. I think I’d like the people of Riverton to know that we actually love what we do. This is not that hard of a job. With a little common sense, we can fix almost every problem. So just give us a call, and let’s get it fixed.
Additional questions and answers can be found here on the League of Women Voters Fremont County Primary Election Voter Guide.
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