The Primary Elections for County Commissioner District #1 are just around the corner, who is primarily the candidate who meets the needs of the reservation.
The County Commissioners role is supported by a tax base, which allows for maintenance of roads, museums, national parks, and operates through the county government for license and jails. It is a county wide position, determining work with forest service and land management. Prioritizing services since oil and gas is down, the County Commissioner oversees avenues to distribute from funding from county taxes.
On the reservation, tribal members as a rule don’t pay any property taxes, which came about when the treaties were signed for the government. The Shoshone and Arapaho have oil and gas which is taxed by the state, therefore the money goes to Cheyenne to be distributed. In 1969 to 1979, 180 million dollars was collected in severance taxes. 80 million of those dollars came back to the reservation for schools and roads and some of that money went to county commissioners as well.
With the reservations growing population, the people need to be represented. This Tuesday, August 16th, a vote can be casted. The choices for a future County Commissioner District 1 to be named on November 8th the same as the presidential election are, choice #1 Republican Joe Malek, choice #2 Republican Clarence Thomas, choice #3 Democrat Bruce Cook, or choice #4 Democrat Gary Collins.
Joe Malek-83 years old, has lived in Fremont County for 40 years, he owns a campground on the reservation and “Lander Motor Automotive”, he wants better relationships between county government to tribal government, he also wants to boost tourism and find if alternative energy fits Fremont County.
Clarence Thomas-52 years old is a Veteran. He has lived in Fremont County for 26 years, he is the Director of Wind River ESCAPE; a Native youth mentoring program, he believes in collaborative diversity and progressive change. Clarence is an enrolled member of the Salt River Pima/Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, AZ.
Bruce Cook-49 years old has lived on the Reservation for majority of his life, he worked for Eastern Shoshone Tribal Health, he is a full time artist and wood sculptor. Bruce wants more communication between tribal members and local communities as a united voice, and wants to show how hard work, education, and experience can earn the trust of people.
Gary Collins-67 years old is a lifelong resident of Fremont County, he is an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, was a former Arapaho Council Chairman and a former Arapaho Tribal Liaison. Gary is instrumental in his family’s ranching operation, and wants Native Americans to be at the table, and not on the menu.
Those are your candidates for District 1, be sure to go out this Tuesday, August 16th to cast your vote, every vote matters.