The News Editorial: Debates have been informative, entertaining


July 14, 2022

Voters in Washakie County have been treated to three strong debates in the past few weeks.

Up first was the local debate between the three candidates for sheriff, hosted by and at the Worland Senior Center. Executive Director Wendy Fredricks knows seniors in the community prefer to vote absentee and prefer to vote earlier rather than wait until the primary election Aug. 16.

She realizes the importance of the local race and opted to host the debate for the seniors to have a chance to meet the candidates and make an informed decision.

There were great questions and answers.

I heard one couple remark as I was leaving that any one of the candidates would make a good sheriff.

They are knowledgeable in the position they are seeking, they have specific ideas on what they would like to achieve, with many similarities. However, each candidate has his own strengths and that will help voters make a decision come next month.

The senior center also hosted a debate for the five candidates for county commissioner with two seats up this year.

The challengers for this race were not as knowledgeable about the position as the sheriff candidates, but that is understandable. There is time for these candidates to become more knowledgeable and be ready if elected for office.

I would encourage any candidate seeking any office to get to know that position, what’s involved and what has been happening.

Attend meetings, read past minutes or read news stories, among a variety of other ways.

While there has been no debate set for city council candidates as they are all unopposed for the primary, I do want to extend a shout-out to Ward 2 candidate Peter Calderon who has been attending council meetings since the filing period ended in May.

If he remains unopposed through the general election, by attending meetings he will be ready to step into his new role in serving the people of Worland.

On June 30, Washakie County voters had the rare opportunity to attend a governor candidate debate right here in our hometown, hosted by the Washakie County Republican Party. They provided a great, patriotic stage for the candidates, great venue at the Worland Middle School Auditorium and a great debate between two of the candidates.

Two of the candidates, including Governor Mark Gordon, were unable to attend. Was it disappointing that all four candidates could not be there. Yes, but anytime you pick a date for a debate that is a risk you take.

For the senior center to have pulled off both debates with all the candidates in attendance is a bit of a marvel.

Some said it was disrespectful for the governor not to attend. I did notice most of these comments came from long-time opponents of the governor.

Having covered debates and elections for more than 30 years I let the record of incumbents speak for themselves and I am OK when I see them doing their job rather than on the campaign trail. After all as a taxpayer, I am not paying them to campaign.

Moderator Taylor Haynes said in an email that the governor was obligated to attend. There are a lot of things a governor is obligated to do, but attending debates I do not feel is one of them. People can judge Gordon and other incumbents based on their record of what they have or have not done while already in office.

Kudos to the commissioner challengers for being polite and not rude or taking shots at the incumbents during the senior center debate last week.

I am not a fan of mud-slinging and I prefer to hear what a candidate is going to do rather than what they do not like about the “other guy.”

There are a couple more chances to get information on candidates. Last week the Northern Wyoming News began running candidate profile on statewide races. This will continue this month with local races profiled right before the election.

On Aug. 2, the Worland Business and Professional Women’s Club will be hosting a forum with all state, county and city candidates invited. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Worland Community Center.

Whatever type of politics you prefer, and whatever type of campaigning you prefer, make sure when voting Aug. 16 or via absentee that you cast informed votes.

--Karla Pomeroy


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