Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 46-year resident of Sweetwater County, Wyoming married to a wonderful woman. My wife Teresa and I have three adult children, all of whom live and work in Sweetwater County, and a six-year-old grandson who is the actual head of our household.
I am President and CEO of Kayar Distributing, Incorporated, a local family owned business that operates three convenience stores in Rock Springs and Sweetwater County, employing between 20 and 30 people in the community depending on the season.
I consider myself an ardent fiscal conservative and strong social libertarian. I am a long-time active member of my state and local Republican Party and believe that the first step to making a difference in society, and holding our government accountable to the people whom it represents, is to show up.
I have dedicated many years of my life in service to my community by being a part of a successful business, by creating jobs, and by serving on public and private boards, groups, and associations. I have strived continuously throughout my life to make both myself, and my community, better.
I spent seven years on the Sweetwater County Planning and Zoning Commission, two of those years as Chairman. I spent ten years on the board of directors for the White Mountain Water & Sewer District, eight of those as Chairman. I spent six years on the board of directors for Sweetwater County Fire District #1, all as Treasurer. I spent around 25 years on the board of directors of the Wyoming Retail Association, and more than a decade on the board of directors of the Wyoming State Liquor Association.
I was also a member of the Sweetwater County Jail Task Force, the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee, as well as a board member, referee commissioner, coach, and
FIFA certified referee for the Rock Springs Soccer Association and Avengers Soccer.
When you put all of that together, I have a lot of experience working with other board members — inside and outside of government — managing organizations and budgets. I believe that throughout I’ve been a strong advocate for the employees of the organizations I’ve been involved with, a good fiscally conservative steward of taxpayer funds, all while fighting for private property rights and individual liberty.
What do you see as the most important issues in your candidacy and how will you address them?
The first thing I’d like to accomplish is the return to a functioning liaison system between the board of county commissioners and the departments and agencies that it funds and oversees. Communication is key, and there has to be a sound working relationship between the commissioners, other elected officials, department heads, as well as component and outside agencies.
Along with that should come a return to regular commissioner reports on the agenda. The Sweetwater County Commissioners represent everyone in the county, and voters shouldn’t have to watch hours of meetings to piece together what commissioners are doing on their behalf.
Solving the ambulance service problem would be my highest priority. While I hold out hope that our current elected officials will find a long term solution before a new board is seated, I’m really not going to hold my breath. While they’ve been “talking” about it, the cost to county taxpayers has quadrupled.
If it hasn’t been solved by January, and the voters have chosen me to fill one of the three seats up for election this year, I will do my best to work together with my fellow commissioners, as well as our peers in the Rock Springs and Green River city councils, to find a solution. As I said, communication is key, and we’re not going to find a solution without it. However, someone, sometime, has to make a decision.
The next big checkmark on my list is supporting thoughtful and effective economic development. Sweetwater County’s long term financial stability can’t be based on inflation tax bonuses. It is not the government’s job to pick and choose businesses to win or lose, but it is government’s job to cut down roadblocks and make Sweetwater County an attractive destination for developing business.
I’ve already done that as a seven-year member of the Sweetwater County Planning & Zoning Commission, and I’ll continue that work as a member of the Board of County Commissioners. If we can develop our economy with an eye toward the future, then we will have the resources to solve many of our other problems.
Mostly, as I’ve stated before, I just want to bring some balance to the board, by providing experience, reason, effectiveness, and even some pragmatism. Everyone that is there now is both capable and intelligent, but for some reason the mix between them isn’t producing the results I’d like to see coming out of the courthouse.
I promise that if you vote for me, I’ll work together with my fellow commissioners to find real solutions, and more important, to make plans that avoid some of those problems in the first place.
How can voters contact you?
You can find me on on both Twitter and Instagram @islandrichards. I’ll also have a booth at several events throughout the summer, where I hope you’ll come visit with me in person.