Anderson announces his re-election bid
August 13, 2020
WORLAND – Washakie County Commissioner Aaron Anderson has announced his bid for re-election as he seeks his fourth term as a commissioner.
Anderson was first elected to the Board of Commission in 2008.
"I am seeking another term as Washakie County commissioner for two basic reasons," Anderson said. "One, I feel like I have a skill set that can make a difference to the people of Washakie County and two I truly enjoy this job because counties are the local arm of state government and being a commissioner is a boots on the ground job."
Reflecting on his past 12 years, Anderson is proud of how he and the other commissioners over time have completed most of the quality of life projects that were identified in one form or another. This has included projects such as the upgrades to the Washakie Medical Center, which was a result of a great deal of work from a large group of people and organizations, where Anderson believes he played a significant role on behalf of the county in ensuring its completion.
Another project that is ongoing that Anderson has helped oversee has been the acquisition and design of the former Kennedy Ace Hardware building at 801 Big Horn Ave, for a new Washakie County Library which construction is anticipated to begin this year after the recent opening of the new Kennedy Ace Hardware building located near the corner of Big Horn Avenue and 23rd Street.
With a new library in the works for Worland, the county has also expanded the Ten Sleep Library to create a larger meeting space along with an after school club, which Anderson says should allow the county to focus on "maintenance and efficient operation of these new facilities, and all our county properties."
The maintenance of county properties has been a large change and transition under Anderson and the county commissioners, as they have established a building maintenance head in Tom Schmeltzer, which has seen a large reduction in contract work. According to Anderson, this reduced contract work and a supervisor to oversee the projects has led to a large savings for the county. Another way that Anderson believes that they have improved the county is through software improvements in the County Assessor's office in order to help make county operations more streamlined and efficient.
"We face some significant challenges going into the future with reductions in state revenues and the unknown challenges we face from the fallout of the COVID-19 virus," Anderson said. "As I look at those challenges I think there are several things that make me a good choice to continue as Washakie County commissioner."
There are three things that Anderson believes make him a good choice to continue his role as a commissioner, which are his experience, ability to mediate and facilitate, and the ability to model and forecast decisions and how they will impact the county.
Anderson admits that there are some large challenges and responsibilities that come with the complex job of county commissioner that has very diverse responsibilities; he said that the first year or two would create a larger challenge for someone stepping into the position for the first time.
"Although I am still learning I have a strong understanding of this job and am ready to move forward on day one of a new term," Anderson said.
The second skillset that Anderson said would qualify him for a fourth term, would be his ability to sit down with conflicting groups and help facilitate a discussion between the two to achieve a desired goal. One example he thought of was with the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative, and helping the City of Worland and the Landfill board work through difficult discussions regarding tipping fees.
He feels as if these skills come in to play in his relationships and discussions with legislators, other county commissioners, federal agencies and municipalities.
The third skillset that Anderson believes would allow him to perform his position of commissioner to the best of his ability, is his knowledge of modeling. A model that he has built for the commission is able to efficiently analyze how salary and benefit changes in each department will impact the overall budget.
Anderson believes that private business is the backbone of our economy, and that the county has a lot of "motivated, intelligent and resourceful citizens operating private businesses." He believes that the county government needs to focus on maintaining the existing infrastructure and keeping essential services intact.
"If we can do that Washakie County will stay a great place to live and work and private business will move our economy forward when the time is right," Anderson said. "I am honored by the opportunity I have had to serve the people of Washakie County and hope that I can continue to serve in the future."
Anderson is expected to file once the filing period opens for candidates on May 14. Anderson won the Republican primary by a significant margin in 2016, and ran unopposed in the general election that November.