Mary E. Thoman announced her candidacy as a Republican for Sweetwater County Commissioner. As a Wyoming native with backgrounds in education, sales, agriculture and public service and a graduate of Green River High School, I have deep roots in the state.
As a young adult I received degrees from the University of Wyoming in Business Education and Colorado State University (CSU) with degrees in Marketing Education along with a PhD. In Vocational Education Administration. The four years at CSU were with a national leadership fellowship. Also during this time I became an instrument rated private pilot and later owned my own Cessna 182 airplane.
For the past 20 years I have served in an elected position on the Conservation District— 17 of those years as chairman. I am familiar with county government and its operations and have been a businessperson all my adult life. I consider myself a land use expert. My statewide contacts and close relationships with our Congressional delegation and legislature will serve me well as Commissioner.
Sweetwater County is facing unprecedented economic uncertainty and it is not all related to COVID-19—although those impacts are monumental. Everything we love about Sweetwater County is tied to our natural resources—jobs, tax base and infrastructure, and recreation. We need leaders with experience and maturity to face the issues and make tough decisions to preserve our quality of life in Sweetwater County. I understand those issues and am prepared to deal with them.
I have led many public processes, the major one being the development of a “Land and Resource Use Plan” for Sweetwater County Conservation District. It is on file with the County Clerk and is updated every five years with public input.
For the past 20 years I have spent countless hours in federal government ‘cooperator’ planning meetings advocating for multiple use, responsible development, access, recreation, habitat improvements and sustainable agriculture, … Sweetwater County is the largest county in Wyoming- 7 million acres– and is 70% public lands. It is on those lands that the majority of our County revenue is derived from our rich natural resources. It is for this reason that I have been so passionate about protecting our tax base and way of life.
With the support of the County Commission and through a public process, I led an effort to develop a major data base detailing all of the roads in the County and the different layers of minerals, wildlife corridors and habitats, land ownerships, etc. This guides the CD and CC while cooperating with the federal Bureau of Land Management in developing a Transportation or Travel Plan for Sweetwater County. It is all about ACCESS.
Due to our involvement in decisions being made on the public lands, I helped co-found a Coalition of Local Governments involving five (5) conservation districts and four (4) county commissions in SW Wyoming. We meet at least once a month to discuss all proposed federal plans and projects. We provide input to our legal and technical team who then prepare legally defensible and scientifically credible comments for the administrative record.
Currently we are focusing on ensuring that FACTS are considered by the Public Service Commission while the future of our coal mines with the nation’s most reliable power source is threatened by outside interests.
As a member of the Executive Committee of the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative representing conservation districts in SW Wyoming, I have worked to enhance habitats on our high energy industry lands—both public and private. All natural resource leaders in the State sit on this board and oversee projects in a 19 million acre area and I served as chairman for two terms.
Another area in which I excel is budgeting—both from a county perspective and from a dynamic family ranching operation and personal business perspective. The County’s past budget of over $39 million is going to see drastic reductions in the coming years due to the pandemic and declining mineral income. Tough decisions will have to be made and I feel I have the experience to work together with our other commissioners to meet those challenges.
I was appointed to serve on former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis’ Investment Advisory Council and did so for seven years meeting annually with national and international investment bankers and providing input on the State’s investment portfolio. It was during this time that the State’s investment portfolio was diversified and major increases in returns were realized.
I am prepared and willing to face the challenges of this County. I can promise you that I will give it my all and devote the time it will take to do a great job. Vote for quality and experience!