The election is over, and Laramie’s City Council will see four new faces in January, including Jessica Rae Stalder, Brian Harrington, Paul Weaver and Erin O’Doherty.
Although they were just elected, many are already planning how to make the most of their time until they take office in January. Their different policy priorities include focusing on business growth, recycling and crisis intervention for police officers — along with considering qualities they’re looking for in a potential new mayor.
O’Doherty, a newly elected council member in Ward 3, wants to ensure proper funding for police officer crisis training, especially considering recent events in Laramie, when a Albany County deputy shot and killed Laramie resident Robbie Ramirez on Sunday.
“I want to look into training for police officers,” O’Doherty said. “The crisis intervention training — it was already on my mind but after the tragedy this week it’s a big concern. We’ve lost so much mental health funding in this state. We need to make sure all of our officers have had that training.”
Glass recycling is another issue O’Doherty wants to invest her time into, especially since the city is working on expanding its landfill.
“The glass takes room in our landfill, it costs us money and it’s wasting precious landfill space, and landfill space is expensive,” O’Doherty said. “So, even if it costs money to take it to Colorado or something, we need to find a way to do that or at least segregate it until we can find a better use for it. Because our Landfills have to be lined, and glass is inert so it doesn’t need to be taking space there.”
Ward 1 elected Stalder, who said she wants to be as informed as possible before her term starts in January.
“Before my term starts, I’m looking forward to learning in more detail about the immediate, mid-range and long-term issues facing the city, as well as staying involved with my constituents and listening to what is important to them,” Stalder said.
She said she also wants to start working towards making Laramie more business friendly, an issue at the forefront of her campaign.
“I think the Council — as a whole, or through a designated representative — should connect with new or growing businesses in Laramie and see how we can help them address obstacles to entry and growth,” Stalder said. “Only through this type of public-private partnership can we generate more revenue for the city in order to address infrastructure and other immediate concerns. … Adaptive and common-sense application of policies can allow businesses to thrive. When business thrives, our residents and community thrive.”
Newly elected Harrington also said he also wants to be as informed as possible before he starts his term. The Ward 1 resident said he also wants to work towards building more businesses in Laramie, not just attracting them to move here.
“This is a little bit more of a lofty or long-term goal — it’s not something I’m going to have done immediately — but I’m interested in figuring out a way the city can be more proactive in helping business develop in Laramie,” Harrington said. “While recruitment of businesses is incredibly important to the health of the economy in Laramie, I think a business built in Laramie that starts here and grows here is much more likely to stay, and that ends up being the means to the end for the infrastructure conversations and the revenue problems the city experiences.”
Typically, City Council terms are four years long, but current council member Phoebe Stoner has decided to step down from her seat two years early. Although Harrington will serve a two-year term, he said he wants the city to work with the county commissioners to figure out “how our relationship can be strengthened and then therefore be a little more productive.”
Paul Weaver, who served on City Council after being elected in 2013, ran unopposed in Ward 2. He did not respond to the Boomerang’s requests for comment before the paper went to print.
With a new City Council comes a new mayor, and each newly elected councilman has different ideas of important qualities the future mayor should have.
Harrington said he wanted to emphasize the importance of leadership skills and a strong work ethic.
“The most important thing is going to be a strong leadership quality,” Harrington said. “You are leading a group of leaders so that requires strong leadership. … It’s a big job and somebody has to be willing to take that on in a way that continues the success in the position we’ve seen in the past.”
O’Doherty said she wanted to make sure the mayor knew “how to conduct a meeting” to keep them “from going off track.”
“We need someone who will advocate for our city with the Wyoming Association of Municipalities,” O’Doherty added.
Stalder said she was looking for a mayor with a vision.
“As far as selecting a new mayor, the most important quality is someone that can bring people to the table, create a common strategic vision and make measurable progress towards objectives,” Stalder said.
City Council meetings are regularly held on Tuesdays and are open to the public.