Meet your candidates

By Grace Moore

With the primary election just around the corner, the following is a brief introduction to each of the candidates for mayoral and council seats in Moorcroft and Pine Haven.

Moorcroft Council

Charlie Britton

Britton feels, “We need the council to have people who are compatible and can work together to advance the community without conflict and work within the framework of the city government, moving forward and not sideways.”

“I hope to bring back some sort of civility to the council meetings,” expounds Britton, “and produce forward thinking work. I know we have some changes in front of us that are going to be very challenging for the council and the town citizens; the landfill is going to be a biggie, that’s going to affect all the members of the community. I want to see us get that Moorcroft Town Center going farther, I believe that it can be a great asset to the community and the area around Moorcroft as a recreational avenue and for business.”

Britton wants the people of Moorcroft to understand, “The people on the governing body are working for the benefit of the town, not just themselves. I believe the people who are on the council are all good people, they work to help the people of Moorcroft ; I commend them highly for their work and I don’t fault any of them for what they’ve tried to accomplish. I think continuing to work with each other will bring a better town governing body for the citizens of Moorcroft.”

Dale Petersen

Petersen says he misses being on the council and wants to “see what I can do to try to help the town of Moorcroft. I have some time now that I didn’t have before and I really enjoyed being part of the community and finding a way of doing it”.

The landfill situation,” says Petersen, “has to be our number one priority. I think we need to continue to work on our infrastructure and, as funding becomes available, seek out funding from the state to continue the infrastructure repairs on the water and sewer lines and the third thing is to make sure we live within our means. That’s hard if we’re trying to improve our infrastructure because we’re always going to have a part of that that we’re going to have to come up with, we’ve got to try to find a way to bring everything into balance. I’d love to see some work done on our parks, some new park equipment for our children, but we do have to prioritize.”

Petersen previously served almost six years on the Moorcroft Council. He states that if he is elected, “I’ll do my very best to meet the needs of all the citizens of Moorcroft. We live in a great community and we need to continue to build our community and try to move forward.”

Nancy Feehan

“I love my community and I want to see things happening for the positive. That is one of my major concerns is to try to create a more positive council and community where we can work together,” says Feehan.

“I’ve sat in the audience for many years listening and giving input, but I would like to be a part of the decision making now and see things accomplished for the good of Moorcroft. We’ve been doing a lot of good things the last couple of years, but we have many more things that need to be accomplished and I would like to be a part of that.”

“I realize the economy has taken a big hit, but we can see some progress now so I would like to see that the budget is kept balanced. Infrastructure is important and I feel that the council has worked diligently toward keeping the infrastructure goals completed, but we have a lot more work to do. One goal I would like to see is to utilize and make the MTC a place for all of Moorcroft and to make it viable.”

Now retired, Feehan says she “can devote the time needed for a council person to be known throughout the community and the state and as a council person I would like to see us come together as a community”.

Paul Smoot

“The biggest thing to me,” says Smoot, “is being back in that seat again to continue to provide a clear consistent message in the leadership of Moorcroft; a clear consistent message to our residents, our employees, surrounding communities and to our leadership in Cheyenne. It is so important for Moorcroft to have a voice and a message that is clear and at least try to be knowledgeable and reasonable.”

If reelected, Smoot places priority on, “The landfill situation; mainly providing a message that is trying to come to a solution that is fair for our community – that serves our community, our town of Moorcroft first. We [also] have to open up our arms to people five miles, ten miles outside town of Moorcroft…we need to not ignore them because they’re important to our community, too.”

His second priority is, “holding a line on our town budget and, to me that is just as important as the landfill. I’m seeing is a whole lot of spending that’s not targeted, that’s not planned…This mentality of spending is not the held by all of the department heads; it’s just a few little areas here and there.”

Smoot also wants to see the town “back together and pushing toward our collective goals like holding the line on our utility costs.”

Smoot says, “My number one goal is really what everyone else’s number one goal is: to help my own town be the best it can be to give young families and retirees and anybody a wonderful place to live and raise their families.”

Tom Clayter

Could not be reached for comment.

John Aloisio

Could not be reached for comment.

Moorcroft Mayor

Dick Claar

“I believe that I can bring some things to the mayor’s position that are much needed right now,” says Claar, listing experience, involvement with town matters and time.

“I’m retired and I can devote a lot of time to the position. I think it needs a lot of time given to it, that’s evident by the trips I take to Cheyenne,” he says. “Moorcroft needs to go down and represent themselves at these meetings. You’ve got to have the time to do it and those elected officials down there would like to talk to the mayor.”

Claar says, “One of my goals is what we’re doing with the landfill. I think that will be decided in the next two or three months, but that needs followed up.”

He regards the parks as a high priority, too. “They’ve been improved the last year or two, but we need some playground equipment and with the Secret Squirrel Brigade working and trying to put together a program for a splash pad, I think that’s extremely important that Moorcroft pursue that,” he says.

“I would like to see the Moorcroft Town Center promoted and utilized. Especially with the school district going to a four day school week, I think we could put together something,” he continues.

“I think we need to get the turmoil calmed down, get out among our neighbors and our state elected officials and try to get our good reputation back,” Claar concludes. “I think the turmoil in Moorcroft has been so bad that state officials have tried to shy away from us as much as possible.”

Steve Sproul

“[The people] elected me three and a half years ago to help with the government of Moorcroft,” Sproul states. “I think a lot has been done, but we still have a long way to go. I would like to see our government run for the people and not as the good old boy system where only certain friends reap the benefits. If a couple of honest people and I are elected, this can be corrected.”

Sproul talks about future issues, “We have some big projects coming up that will affect the town for a long time; the landfill, MTC, lagoon and streets to name a few. They need to be done honestly and with some common sense.”

“I’m not a politician,” says Sproul, “but a business person; I believe governments should be run honestly and with complete transparency. I also believe all people should have a say in their government.”

Owen Mathews

Mathews is seeking the position of mayor “for the same reason I’ve been on the council for the whole time: this is the town I grew up in and I love this community; I want it to be a home for my kids.”

He explains that the tough decisions are not popular, but, “The extent of all the repairs we have to have going on right now is because that difficulty a lot of people have of stepping up and making the hard decisions. Right now, we’re facing our landfill closing, probably by the end of the year. Unless some other option opens up that changes that, we’re facing the hard decision of having to raise the rates and finding a place to take our garbage. I don’t like it, [but] I think someone in the mayor’s position should be able to look at the reality of what the town faces and what the needs are; to measure that, make those decisions and push forward with what has to happen.”

Mathews also noted how the lack of leadership in meetings has stymied focus on issues at hand. “I hope to get back to where there’s good communication among the council so everybody’s involved. I believe our town government is a representation of the people consisting of five individuals. I believe that the mayor’s position is an administrative position; you carry forward what the direction of the council. I don’t believe that it is an autocratic position.”

“There is so much we cannot do in a town this size, [but] I think, time and time again, when you look at all the benefits this community has, it’s because of community involvement, all of us coming together to make it happen.”

Pine Haven

Bill Cunningham – Running for mayor

Cunningham explains he is running for Pine Haven Mayor because, “I’ve been here for almost five years now. I graduated high school in Moorcroft. All my kids live in Gillette. I have a lot of friends who live out here. I like the community – everyone kind of bands together. I just want to help out the community. I’m not here to make a name or change the world, I just want Pine Haven to stay Pine Haven and look and work together as a community.”

“I’m trying to get natural gas out here to help keep the price down yet get Pine Haven up to date a little bit with the water, sewer and garbage,” says Cunningham. “We also need to work on some of the streets and the gutters…I want to learn what the people would like and let them come talk to me and see what they want to do.”

“Everyone wants to live here and retire and kind of just do their thing and not get everything stacked up until it costs a fortune,” he concludes.

Kristi Speed – Running for council seat

I’m running because I’ve been asked by people to run, to be a part of the [council]. Bill [Cunningham]’s running for mayor and he just texted me and said he thinks I have a level head and he wants me to be part of the team.”

Speed notes that everything is “going pretty smooth right now”.