CASPER, Wyo – Casper City Council began interviewing nine candidates at 5 p.m. Tuesday to fill a vacant seat in District 1. The council selected Jai-Ayla Quest after interviewing each of the nine candidates.
Each of the contestants shared a few things they thought Casper should see. Each candidate was asked to answer the following questions:
- Explain why you want to serve on the city council.
- Describe your qualifications and how they will benefit the city of Casper.
- How have you followed the Council’s activities lately? Please explain the current issues the City Council is currently facing.
- Are you ready to run for re-election in 2022?
- Let us know your availability to meet the time commitments of council meetings and board meetings during the week and month.
Candidate Zarryn Hinchen, the founder of Artemisia Dining and butcher at Brattis Meat Market, told the council that he believes North Casper needs more representation not just on the city council but at all levels of government.
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He said North Casper was “historically stigmatized in many ways”. But he sees opportunities for growth and expansion in some of the projects that have taken place there, and they are very promising.
Hinchen noted that North Casper is home to community theater projects, youth theater, ball fields, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming, and Seton House. He added that the Wyoming Food for Thought Project will soon have a larger facility in the former North Casper Elementary School in its neighborhood.
He said he wanted more development in North Casper, adding that it was near development in the downtown area. Hinchen added that he was following the efforts to improve the interface next to Interstate 25 with interest.
Hinchen said he would also like to see greater representation of younger people in Casper, with 20-30 year olds making up about 29% of Casper’s adult population.
He said the current council already represents people aged 30 to 40 and would “want to see a younger voice at the table”.
Hinchen said he has construction experience that would familiarize him with coding and zoning issues that the city council is dealing with.
He also has experience in the service industry, which he believes was “hit particularly hard” by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Hinchen noted that the service industry employs a lot of young people.
He said that as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase, more mothers are in employment.
Hinchen said his work in the service industry also helped him establish a good relationship with the Casper-Natrona County Health Department. He said it would be valuable if he were elected to the council.
He has also done volunteer work, mostly related to waterway projects. Hinchen said he was aware of recent council discussions about a fence project in Morad Park that aims to protect wetland habitat. He said that with his work on the shores, he would be a valuable voice on such matters.
Hinchen added that he studied political science, which gives him a good idea of how political problems can be addressed.
He is also aware that Natrona County will hold a six cents special tax election. Hinchen said that, having grown up in Casper, he was also familiar with the multi-purpose five cents sales tax. He remembers seeing as a child that the fifth cent helped fund the recreation center and that he would wish such tax revenues to support efforts that foster a sense of community and help keep children healthy and active.
Hinchen said he was also familiar with conversations about alleged problems of youth vandalism in the community and said that in his opinion this was a problem that was not new to the community.
He said he would like to help address such issues and offer activities that involve the youth.
Hinchen has also followed the council’s discussions on downtown traffic rules, as well as legal issues such as establishing a missing person database in Wyoming and introducing non-discrimination protection for people.
He said he would like to have the opportunity to share his views on such issues as a member of the council.
Regarding re-election in 2022, Hinchen said he was open to the idea, but that since he was only recently engaged, he would need to consult his fiancée before making that decision.
Hinchen said that if he were elected to the council he would approach it as a job and be available at every meeting.
The full list of the nine candidates interviewed Tuesday for the vacant seat in Ward 1 was as follows:
- Dennis Rollins
- Independent film and television producer
- Jacqueline Anderson
- Kimberly Holloway
- Zarryn Hinchen
- Wes Connell
- Senior pastor of the River of Life Church
- Director of the Cascade Coffee Shop
- Owner of the NeXus Design Group
- Professional life coach
- Application CV
- David Hulshizer
- Shannon O’Quinn
- Jai-Ayla Quest
- Program specialist for the Mass Violence and Atrocities Program at the Stanley Center for Peace and Security
- Mother of three year old twins
- Application CV
- John Minchow
- Rocky Mountain Power Employer Listed – Dave Johnston Power Plant
The candidate interviews can be streamed on the City of Casper’s YouTube channel: