Sweetwater County Assessor
Listen to our candidate interview below:
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I am a third generation resident of Sweetwater County. I am a graduate of Rock Springs High School and Western Wyoming Community College.
I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.
I am married and have two children that both attend Lincoln Middle School. My family owns and operates The Fish Bowl Bowling Center and Catering Service in Green River.
Prior to this endeavor, my family and I owned and operated Rhino Linings of Western Wyoming in Rock Springs.
For the past five years I have been active with coaching soccer and I am currently the president of the Green River Spurs Soccer Club. Prior to soccer, I coached football both at the youth level as well as at Green River High School.
My initial political influence comes from my maternal grandfather who was active in both coal and trona mining, along with being a member of the Young at Heart Senior Center.
My grandfather and I often discussed working conditions and the valuable role unions represented in his entire working life.
My paternal grandparents were employees of the Union Pacific Railroad and through them I was fortunate enough to learn what an integral part of the community rail services can be for all local industry.
My father was self employed and he taught me the value of sacrifice and wearing many hats all at once. I also learned from my father how to give back and to make a difference in a community by being an active volunteer.
My mother and grandmothers were contributing factors in shaping the man I am today. My mother is the compassionate voice in my head reminding me to “play nice” when competing in business or in politics and she is the person I hope to make most proud as I enter this new phase of my professional life.
My wife and children are my life. Without my wife and children I would not have the goals and aspirations for this community that I have today.
My strength to get back up when knocked down and to strive for success comes from my wife. She is the main asset of our business and she is the person allowing me to pursue these political aspirations.
It is said that behind every successful man is a strong woman and for me I have both a strong wife and strong mother supporting me every day of my life.
Why are you the best candidate for Sweetwater County Assessor?
The answer to this question seems simple to me because of the plan I am putting together that will allow this office to be more efficient and less costly to the tax payer.
Just as a successful coach guides a team, a person in a leadership role must identify strengths and weaknesses then build upon the strengths while eliminating the weaknesses.
The strength of my office is going to be centered around our customer service and our willingness to meet the tax payer at their level of need.
Preparations have already began to start utilizing local rescources with expertise in commercial and residential property valuations to allow our staff to be more proactive to industry trends.
Assessment values in this county seem to rise at a steady pace county wide but in some areas the fair market values are not keeping the same pace.
A one year variance is minor but a long term, miscalculated trend can cause assessment figures to be substantially incorrect. This scenario causes the property owner to pay too much in property tax simply because assessment valuations have grown at a faster pace than fair market valuations.
Whether I win the election or not I encourage property owners to visit the assessor’s office and challenge calculations. Property owners in this community need to take an active role and verify their assessed values are fair and are based on market values for their specific neighborhood.
My intention is to be the County Assessor meeting with commercial property owners to protect the infrastructure in this community.
As an example, I do not want to see the Oil and Gas mega center in Wamsutter owned by BP America be deconstructed simply to save them from paying property taxes.
We live in a community that struggles with insufficient infrastructure and we accept this unfortunate reality. As an elected official I will not sit back and watch integral projects get destroyed without offering viable alternatives.
As County Assessor I will fight for industry and I will call upon state level resources to help local businesses during periods of flat growth.
I have met with leaders and elected officials throughout the state and the common theme amongst all state officials is they want to give power and decision making back to the local communities.
Being an active member in local government I will work hard to formulate a strategic plan that enables our county to work more efficiently to benefit the tax payer.
My vision, along with other political candidates that I support, is for our county to operate as a business with shared rescources. One form of a shared resource is the cross training of front line employees in the county building to reduce or eliminate tax payers standing in lines.
On a larger scale I would like to follow the model of the newly erected Justice Center to allow multiple agencies to work together for the benefit of the community.
I truly feel that I am the best candidate for Sweetwater County Assessor because I am from outside the confines of the county building and I want to challenge their way of doing business.
I am attending assessor training conferences and meeting with other communities, both large and small, to gain an accurate image of how I want this office to operate once I am elected.
I will work for the tax payer and therefore I want to establish the most efficient office in Wyoming so the interactions within this office are always informative and beneficial to the tax payer.
A good friend of mine has a saying that goes something like this…The Right Person at The Right Time for The Right Reason. I believe I am the Right Person and now is the Right Time and The Right Reason is simply to give the voice back to the tax payer.
I believe we need to greet the tax payer with genuine interest in satisfying their needs and do everything in our power to make their visit to the county building a pleasurable experience. If elected as the next Sweetwater County Assessor that is exactly what I intend to do.
What do you hope to accomplish in your first year as Sweetwater County Assessor?
A successful first year as Sweetwater County Assessor will result in having a defined plan established that meets the needs of the tax payers and the valuable employees in the county offices.
Considerable effort will be placed on formulating a model to define what a successful office resembles and how it operates.
Input on the formation of this office are being gained during each conference I attend and from hosting interviews with current and former county officials statewide.
Sweetwater County is not unique in its need for new leadership in the Assessor’s Office. A record, 28 individuals, from across the state of Wyoming will attend an introductory training class for new assessors this year.
Many communities are seeing the need for change and are using their vote as their voice on Election Day. I am enrolled in the October training class and I am looking forward to attending to broaden my definition of what a successful office resembles.
A common message shared by officials statewide is that we, as elected officials, need to put more focus on the tax payer and increase customer service in the county offices.
A successful first year as County Assessor will mean property owners will have had the opportunity to meet with me to discuss concerns regarding their property assessments.
As an employee of the people I want to have open dialogue regarding assessments and valuations. I enjoy discussions where common ground can be reached because at the end of the day people in Sweetwater County want to be treated with respect.
People want to be given the opportunity to be heard and people want assistance in formulating a fair solution to their problem.
A successful first year as County Assessor will be visible in the personal growth I obtain from working closely with other civic leaders in this community.
Getting to draw from the experiences of county commissioners Wally Johnson and Don VanMatre plus working alongside Treasurer Robb Slaughter is something I very much look forward to doing.
The knowledge I have gained from relationships built along the campaign trail has been an unexpected blessing and has become an integral part of the planning phase for this office.
I have gained so many friendships and supporters in the past year since I began this campaign and I want to thank each of these people by becoming as successful as possible.
Numerous people, whom I have admired from afar, have offered their support and it is humbling for me to envision the positive changes I will be making in this community.
A successful first year will be realized only when I have met the lofty goals established by those people that have committed to supporting me in this trek to positively represent the tax payers in this county.
How can voters get in touch with you?
My campaign message is about customer service and therefore I want to offer myself to readily meet with prospective voters. I enjoy discussing concerns one on one and feel to be the best County Assessor I need to be available to meet with people at their convenience.