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Candidates announce for state seats

Driskill, Neiman to run again, Connett and Fortner set to challenge

Three local candidates have thrown their names in the hat for the upcoming elections, aiming to vie for Crook County’s two seats in the Wyoming State Legislature.

Senator Ogden Driskill announced he will stand again for Senate District 1, saying he will run on his past record and “with a promise of continued leadership in keeping Wyoming strong.” If elected, he says this will be his last term.

“I have a proven track record of accomplishing things – not just hollow promises,” he says.

“Many who are in this role become frustrated as being an effective legislator takes more than rhetoric – it takes the ability to work with others to move policy forward. Great ideas only become policy or law through leadership and respect, which are earned, not forced upon others.”

Driskill lists numerous examples of bills he has sponsored and co-sponsored, ranging from the healthcare freedom act to bills that allow hunter education to be taught in schools, legalize concealed carry, create charter schools and regulate blockchain technology.

“Wyoming and Northeast Wyoming have many challenges ahead of them. I believe I am the right person to serve you in the next term,” he says.

“I do not shy from hard decisions and will continue to fight for you and our local values. I will continue to be accessible and be a die-hard advocate for you.”

Key issues that Driskill identifies as important moving forward include an “upcoming crisis in unbelievable property tax increases,” the Black Hills National Forest management plan, protecting Wyoming’s water, continuing to streamline the state budget, defending Wyoming’s industries and diversifying the economy and working to solve school funding issues.

“I have been blessed to rise in leadership and am in line to be the President of the Wyoming Senate, giving Northeast Wyoming added ability to move your issues and ideas forward,” he says.

“These are critical times, and I am up for the battle.”

Running against him will be Roger Connett, who until Saturday served as the chairman of the Crook County Republican Party.

Connett announced during the annual Lincoln Day Dinner that he would be resigning as leader of the local party in order to stand for the Senate District 1 seat.

He pledged to “stand for and support the written platform of the WY Republican Party, affirm faith in God, right to life, the Second Amendment and private property rights.”

These he mentioned as a few of the “timeless truths” that are part of the platform, which he said is the basis of true conservatism.

A third candidate running for the seat is Bill Fortner of Gillette, who earlier this year said he would step down from his seat as District 52 Representative in order to run. He said at the Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday that he is running because he noticed good bills not getting through the Senate and wants to make a change there.

Representative Chip Neiman has meanwhile confirmed that he will seek a second term representing House District 1. Describing himself as a life-long community member, rancher and public servant, he notes in his announcement that he made it a priority upon being elected in 2020 to “represent the values of his friends and neighbors from the Montana border to mid-Weston County and every community in between.”

Among his accomplishments so far, Neiman says he is humbled to have been recognized each year by Wyoming Right to Life for defending pre-born babies and has sponsored and co-sponsored multiple pro-life bills, including the “trigger bill” that will ban chemical abortions on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

He also states that he drafted and sponsored the Livestock Identification Choice act and co-sponsored tax reduction legislation for the mining industry, school choice legislation and many other bills that Crook and Weston County voters told him are important to them.

He also serves on the select water and education committees.

“As I serve in this position, I am working to bring information and transparency to my fellow citizens of District 1 through town halls and public meetings.” Neiman says.

“I have been blessed by the friendships and coalitions built with other freedom-loving legislators and we are working to make Wyoming’s trajectory one that builds upon the freedoms laid out in the Wyo