The candidates for the 2016 presidential election have taken over except when there’s a mass shooting, an ISIS beheading or a terrorist attack. Media is filled with politicians.
Consider that the most interesting elections will be here in Sheridan County next year. For the Legislature, the seat for Senate District 22 — which includes all of Johnson County and the eastern portion of Sheridan County — will be on the ballot. The seat is currently held by Sen. Dave Kinskey. In the Wyoming House, the offices of Reps. Mark Kinner, Mark Jennings, Michael Madden and Rosie Berger will be in play.
Consider as well two county commissioner seats (those held by Mike Nickel and Tom Ringley), the Sheridan mayor’s office, city and town council seats (Sheridan: Kristin Kelly, Shelleen Smith, Thayer Shafer; Dayton: Joey Sheeley and Laurie Walters-Clark; Ranchester: Randy Sundquist, Jesse J. Hinkhouse and Jeffrey Barron) and school board seats (Sheridan County School District 1: Carla Dunham, Gary Reynolds, Karen Walters; SDSC2: Richard Bridger, Wayne Schatz, Molly Steel, Hollis Hackman; SCSD3: Catherine Fennema, Barry Bauer, Amy Vineyard; Sheridan College: R. Scott Ludwig, Bruce Hoffman, Kress ‘Kati’ Sherwood, Walter Wragge) will be on the ballot.
Local government, particularly in Wyoming, is the most efficient. Candidate filings begin in May. Until then, we recommend:
• If you’re not registered to vote, do so. It’s easy and it’s your right. Then vote when the primary comes in August and the general election arrives in November. The upside: you get to wear one of those “I voted” stickers. It’s therapeutic. And you exercise your privilege and duty as an American citizen.
• Challenge the candidates. Challenge them on why they should receive your vote. Research their backgrounds and their voting records, if they’re incumbents. Get to know who they are. Ask them directly if they’ll be attending public candidate forums. Politics isn’t some rote ideological assertion; it’s being able to assimilate into the public and think on one’s feet.
One other note of interest will be the race for Wyoming’s one House of Representatives seat in Washington, given the retirement of Rep. Cynthia Lummis.
There’s interest that Liz Cheney, an attorney and political commentator, could run. She challenged Sen. Enzi briefly a year ago. To add some spark, former Gov. Dave Freudenthal has been discussed for Rep. Lummis’ seat. He’s an attorney in Cheyenne now, but as a Democrat, he won two elections as Wyoming’s governor, the last with almost 70 percent of the state’s vote.
Enjoy the holidays, enjoy the season. The inevitable is coming — an election, and it will be meaningful.