GREEN RIVER — The Sweetwater County Republican Party is faced with a difficult, but necessary, task over the next several weeks.
While the county mourns the loss of former commissioner Don Van Matre, the GOP must also start the process of filing the seat vacated by his passing on May 2.
According to Wyoming State Statute 18-3-524 (a) Within twenty (20) days after the office of any county commissioner becomes vacant, the remaining members of the board shall declare a vacancy to exist and immediately give notice of the vacancy in writing to the chairman of the county central committee of the political party which the member whose office is vacant represented at the time of his election.
Central Committee Process
Van Matre was a Republican, therefore Sweetwater County’s GOP central committee will be receiving the official documentation of the vacancy. The committee chairperson, Teresa Richards, will then have 20 days from the receipt of the notice to call a meeting of the central committee.
The Sweetwater County Board of Commissioners will declare vacancy at the the next meeting on Tuesday, May 21.
The committee will decide upon three qualified people to fill the vacancy and give those names back to the county commissioners. The board will then have 20 days upon receiving the names from the central committee to select one person from that list to fill the vacancy.
“Now the wrangling begins to find someone to take Don’s seat,” said county commissioner Jeff Smith. “Committee voters will need to say who they think should take the seat.”
Choosing the Candidates
In a statement released on Thursday, May 9, Chairman Richards said the Sweetwater County Republican Party is working diligently to prepare for choosing the candidates.
“Once the vacancy is declared, and I am officially notified, the party will announce the process that will be used to select the three qualified nominees whose names will be forwarded to the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners for consideration. Instructions detailing the application process for interested candidates will also be provided at that time,” Richards said.
“The central committee understands the weight of their responsibility in this process, and we will do our very best to make sure that the nominees we select represent the best candidates that the Republican Party has to offer, and I am committed to making this process as transparent and inclusive as possible.”